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Joseph "Nicky" Louis Johnson

March 11, 1950 ~ February 16, 2019 (age 68)

Joseph Louis “Nicky” Johnson, 90, of Owensboro was received by his Heavenly Father on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Hospice of Western Kentucky – Heartford House. He was born February 4, 1929, in Owensboro to the late Henry Cecil and Josephine Murphy Johnson. Nicky was married on March 11, 1950, to his sweetheart and love of his life, Ms. Betty Jean Norris. Together, over the past 69 years, Nicky and Betty enjoyed spending time with and watching their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren build and grow their lives. “Grandaddy” as Nicky came to be known, lost his hero and big brother, H.C. Johnson, at the Battle of Midway. He was profoundly affected by this loss and became a fervent researcher of WWII. To ease his suffering, he turned to boxing where he excelled as a Golden Gloves boxer. An avid outdoorsman, Grandaddy enjoyed hunting, fishing and walking area farmlands in search of arrowheads. He worked throughout the state of Kentucky for many years from the 1950s through 1970s for Southern Bell and later South Central Bell as a lineman, cable repairman and installer. He was a man of incredible faith, student of the Bible and a life-long devout Catholic, spending most of his years at St. Joseph and Paul Parrish. Grandaddy was a legendary storyteller; as the many people he encountered at the Owensboro Healthpark over the years can attest. He often spoke of his love of sports, most notably, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Simply put, Grandaddy was the best husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather in the world. His legacy of selflessness and putting his family first will live on for many generations to come. He was the true embodiment of a life well-lived.
In addition to his parents, Nicky was preceded in death by siblings, Petty Officer H.C. Johnson, Julia Morris, Edith Lynn, Mary Ruth Leek, Josie Qualls, Robert Johnson and by son-in-law, Warren Sutherland.
In addition to his wife, Betty, Nicky is survived by his children, Pat Johnson of Owensboro, Ret. USAF Captain Bill (Carolyn) Johnson of Gresham, Oregon, Betty Jo (Jim) Mattingly of Owensboro, and Carol Ann, Mary and Angie Johnson, all of Owensboro; grandchildren John Dunn of Owensboro, Kay Johnson of Prestonburg, KY, Army Sergeant First Class Scott (Svetlana) Johnson of Monterey, California, Dave (Rachael) Roberts of Owensboro, Haley (Keith) Cadima of Louisville, Valerie (Jeremy) Brown, Jimmy (Taylor) Mattingly, Ashley (Jimmy) Drury, and Joel (Aja) Mattingly; and ten great-grandchildren.
A mass will be celebrated at 1:30 PM on February 20 at St. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church followed by burial at Rosehill Cemetery in Owensboro. Visitation will be from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on February 20 at Haley McGinnis Funeral Home. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of a donation to St. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro, 609 East 4th St, Owensboro, KY, 42303. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Haley McGinnis is both honored and privileged to be entrusted with the care of Mr. Johnson. Please share your messages of condolence with the family of Joseph Louis "Nicky" Johnson at

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