Lela “Libbye” Johnson

Published 2:10 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

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Lela Elizabeth “Libbye” Smith Johnson, 65, of Brandon, Miss., passed away on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

Visitation was held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 1, at Baldwin-Lee Funeral Home in Pearl, Miss. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Improve Baptist Church in Columbia, Miss., with interment in the Improve Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to services at the church.

Libbye was born Dec. 4, 1955, in Bogalusa, a daughter of the late Robert Charles Smith and Lillie Ethel Morris Smith. During her formative years in Bogalusa, Libbye attended Superior Avenue Baptist Church. It was here that she first met her future husband, James E. Johnson. Many years later their lives and hearts would coalesce, and they were wed in November of 1978.

Libbye and James made their home in the Greater Jackson area, where they would raise their family. She faithfully attended Woodland Hills Baptist Church, where she enjoyed singing in the choir. Following the closing of Woodland Hills, she regularly attended church with her daughters.

At an early age, Libbye answered the call to dedicate her life to service for others. As a registered nurse, she cared for patients for more than 43 years at various clinics and hospitals. At the time of her passing she was serving at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and had planned to retire in February of 2022.

Outside of her nursing ministry, Libbye devoted her life to her family. She was a loving wife and doted on her children and grandchildren. Her happiest moments were spent listening to her daughters sing or playing with her grandbabies. In her free time, she enjoyed reading, playing games, and shopping, especially for gifts for others. Described as “great at Christmas,” Libbye was truly in her element hosting holiday family gatherings.

Libbye’s life was one of giving to others, a life which brought her true joy and contentment.

She is survived by her husband of 42 years, James E. Johnson; daughters, Jennifer Leach and husband Matt, and Lauren Woodward and husband Charlie; step-sons, Ken Johnson and wife Mary Bea, Chris Johnson and wife Mindy, and Kevin Johnson and wife Julie; sister, Susan Magee; brother, Everett Smith and wife Jo Ann; and grandchildren, Cole Leach, Jake Leach, Charlie Woodward, Lawson Woodward, Crawford Woodward, Lachlan Woodward, James Russell Johnson, Bailey Shultz, McKenna Johnson, Noah Johnson, Colton Johnson, Ty Johnson, Walker Johnson and Deacon Johnson.

Memorials may be made to charities that were special to Libbye’s heart: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org or to Samaritan’s Purse Ministries at www.samaritanspurse.org.