James Delon Johnson (Jimmy Johnson), age 83, passed quietly and peacefully in his bed on Saturday, February 4, 2023 at Brookdale Sleepy hollow in Amarillo, Texas.
Services will be at 10:00 A.M., Wednesday, February 8, 2023, in Boxwell Brothers Ivy Chapel. Burial will be in Memory Gardens. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Jimmy was born in the small community of Hillham in Livingston County, Tennessee, on March 30, 1939. It was a rural, simple life of hard work, farming, and getting by.
Jimmy ran away with the carnival when he was 14 years old. Within six weeks, he was driving a truck with a tilt-a-whirl on the back for the traveling caravan. This began a lifetime passion for travel and driving professionally.
Jimmy soon left the Carnival, and as a skinny “Country boy from Hillham” (as he always called himself), Jimmy hitchhiked across the country and back. He made his way by doing odd jobs as he moved from town to town.
Eventually, he met and married Violet Clements. They shared two children, Judy and Jerry.
Years later, he would remarry his beloved Patsy. They had two more children, Jennifer and Jim Jr., and were married 53 years before Patsy’s passing.
Jimmy served six years in the United States Army, stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Irwin, California, Germany; and Okinawa, Japan.
Once a civilian again, he became a machinist at the Santa Fe Railroad in Barstow, California. In 1971 Jimmy became a Machinist Supervisor at the Illinois Central Railroad in Paducah, Kentucky.
In 1984 he became a machinist supervisor at the Santa Fe Railroad in Amarillo, Tx. When the railroad threatened a shutdown, he became his own boss, opening Budget Movers of Amarillo.
However, it was in the early ’90s that things got interesting. Jimmy and Patsy opened Royal Limousine. Starting with one white stretch limo and the help of their son Jim Jr. Royal Limousine grew into the largest and oldest Limousine company in the Panhandle of Texas.
Jimmy drove for celebrities, top athletes, dignitaries, and rock stars. Royal Limousine collaborated with such clients as Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Thatcher, George Busch, Carrie Underwood, Jerry Seinfeld, Patrick Swayze, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alice Cooper, Lee Greenwood, John Travolta, and Wayne Newton, to name a few. They even spent the weekend with the Beach Boys once.
Jimmy came from small means, but we will remember him for his bigger-than-life personality, big heart for the Amarillo community, endless energy, and big smile. He will be greatly missed.
Jimmy is survived by three children, Jerry Johnson (and Judy), Jennifer Johnson Hunt (and Kenny), Jim Johnson Jr. (and Lori); four Grandchildren, Amanda Smith (and Cory), Jesse Johnson, Amy Biggs and Angie Hamilton, four Great Grandchildren, Dalton Eads, Devin Smith, Braxton Smith, and Alex Fernandez and one brother Edward Johnson.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Patsy Ann Johnson, his daughter Judy Reeves, Grandson Keith Eads, Great Grandson, Kelly Eads, Mother Dora Crabtree Anderson and Step-Father, James Anderson, Father James Dewey Johnson, and Step-Mother Ruby Johnson.