Some of you may know Tommy Johnson or perhaps his wife, Ruth Ann.They have resided in Cushing for 54 years.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Tommy over the last three and a half years at my place of work. Tommy and Ruth Ann have come to Maveric Mini Mart on Ninth Street and Little Ave. every night at 8 p.m. for more than 40 years to drink coffee and chat with friends. Tommy is a caring, compassionate and genuine person.
Tommy Johnson was born Jan. 24,1935, in Maramec, Oklahoma, on the family dairy farm. He was born during the Great Depression, a severe financial struggle that lasted ten years. He was also born during World War Two, which ended in 1945.
He loved farm life. He helped milk 24 cows twice a day.
“Dairy farming is a lot of hard work but you can look back on it and see that it’s not all bad. I would have chickens, ducks and livestock now if I could.” Johnson said.
In 1935, Johnson moved to Quay, Oklahoma, about five miles north of Yale. He completed all his twelve years of schooling there and graduated in 1954. Three years later, he moved to Yale, where he started working at El Rod Mobile Service Station. El Rod’s was a full service gas station, meaning the attendants did everything for you. Tommy checked oil and tires, fixed flats, washed windshields, pumped gas and even detailed cars.
Tommy loves telling the story of how he ran into RuthAnn.
In 1944, Tommy was traveling with his grandparents and brother, Sammy, to Pawnee, when they accidentally hit someone in another car on Lone Chimney Road. The people they hit turned out to be Ruth Ann and her family.
Tommy said that Ruth Ann was only six years old at the time and he was around ten. He didn’t think they would meet again but on July 4,1965 they were introduced by some friends. They fell in love and got married three months later in Tulsa, at Hillcrest Baptist Church. This October, they will celebrate their 55th anniversary.
Tommy and Ruth Ann have lived in Cushing for the last fifty four years. In 1965 they moved into their first house, at 216 North Kings Highway. Later, they moved to Maple Street then lastly, Sixth Street. Over the years, Tommy has held more than a few jobs in Cushing.
He worked at Darrells’ Gas House for a year. After that, he worked at Daltons’ Precision which was then located on Little Street and Eseco Road. He left there in 1972 to work at The City of Cushing Power Plant, where he worked for 24 and a half years.
“I’ve really liked all the jobs I’ve had.” Johnson said.
He retired from the Power Plant in 1997.
Ruth Ann and Tommy had one child, Kenny in 1969. After graduating 1988, Kenny joined the army, where he served for four years. Tommy has two grandchildren: Andrew who was born in 1991 and Justin who was born in 1994. He also has two great grandchildren, Ryder, 8 and Raegen, 4.
Tommy enjoyed retirement, but wanted to do more with his life. He woke up one morning and thought that his kids were old enough to be in school so it was time to find something else to do throughout the day. He asked his friend Rodger Floyd, the owner of Davis Funeral Home, if he needed any help. Rodger told him that he didn’t need any help at the time.
“I just kicked the idea under the bed.” Johnson said.
A couple of years later, the men met at the local Daylight Donuts shop.
Rodger told Tommy that he had been thinking about him for a long time and asked him if he really wanted to work for him. Tommy started working there in April 2002.
Today, Tommy makes death calls, performs services and helps with office work. He is an assistant meaning he does whatever help is needed.
“I like it because I meet a lot of people and make new friends. I get to see all my old friends as well. I’m a people person. It’s not a job for everyone but I love being able to help people.” Johnson said.
We need more people in this world like Tommy Johnson. His generosity, kindness and most importantly his love for people is unique. I believe it takes a special type of person to do what he does. Tommy is also very active in his community. He served on The Board of Commissioners and was Vice Chairman for The City Of Cushing from May 2007 to May 2016. He now serves as Chairman of The Board Of Adjustments for The City Of Cushing and also Vice Chairman of the Cushing Housing Authority at Cherry Lane Apartments.
“The old saying is true-two things in life are certain; taxes and death.” Johnson said.
As much as I agree with this, saying we can’t forget that death is not the end, even as dark and saddening as it seems. Cherish all the good memories you have and never forget to make new ones.
The writer, Crystal Heppel, was born and raised in Cushing. With roots in agriculture, she loves the farm life, farm animals, writing, coloring and just being surrounded by nature.