James Maryland “Peck” Johnson was born on December 10, 1921, in Littleton, North Carolina, to the late Ellis Johnson and Sylvester Zollicoffer Johnson Peters. He was the second oldest child of the eight children born to Sylvester Johnson Peters and was reared by his grandparents, Maryland and Mariah Zollicoffer. He answered God’s call to his Heavenly home on Thursday, January 8, 2015, at Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, at the age of ninety-three.
“Peck” accepted Christ as his personal Savior during his early life, was baptized, and joined the Fidelity Baptist Church in Littleton, North Carolina. He remained a faithful member and served as a Trustee, Chairman of the grave yard committee, was active in making important church decisions, and regularly attended bible study and other worship services until ill health prevailed. His formal education was received in the Halifax County Public School System.
“Peck” later relocated to Newport News, Virginia, and became employed with the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. After a brief tour of duty in the United States Army, he settled in New York City, and began employment with Bader Brothers Trucking Company where he advanced to become the manager of the company. Soon afterwards, he was joined in Holy Matrimony to the former Evelyn Jenkins. God blessed this union with a son, Allen Wayne, and a daughter, Kathi. In 1954, he moved his family to Long Island, New York, where they remained until his retirement after more than forty years of devoted service to the trucking company. He then returned to his hometown of Littleton, North Carolina, began his own taxi company, Summit Taxi Service, and joined the American Legion Post 425 in Littleton, North Carolina. Not only did he assist family members in moving to New York to seek employment, he also assisted them in their return to Littleton, and was quite instrumental in supporting his family in various other aspects of their lives throughout the years.
“Peck” enjoyed life and had no boundaries when it came to the places he traveled. He loved sharing tales of his cross country travels, and this humble cultural experience fostered a legacy that enabled him to speak comfortably with many people from diverse backgrounds. He was God-fearing, always conducted himself within the parameters of sound moral judgment, and exhibited exemplary drive and determination, which left an indelible mark on the lives of everyone he encountered. His favorite hobbies included fishing, visiting with family and friends, listening to his vast collection of jazz, sharing the family history, playing Bid Whist, telling jokes, and caring for animals. He loved to entertain, had a great sense of humor, developed a special relationship with children to make them laugh, had a passion for old cars, and found great joy in showing vintage family photos and pictures of famous people he had met.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sons, Perry Saums and Allen Wayne Johnson; his sister, Helen Peters Foots; and his brothers, William “Bill” Johnson, Earlie “Tiney” Johnson, Sr., and Harold “Buddy” Peters.
His sweet spirit and treasured memories of his life will forever remain in the hearts and minds of his daughter, Kathi J. Brown; his grandchildren, James L. Rainey III, Kaneka Turner (Erik), Rael Johnson-Robinson, Rikesha Brown, Wayne Miller, and Salene Miller; fifteen great-grandchildren; his long-time special friend and companion, Ann Pulley; his siblings, Henry “Bro” Peters, Harvey “Peter Rabbit” Peters (Barbara Jean), and Barbara Peters Jones (Garnsey); his special aunt, Elberta Snow; his other sisters-in-law, Mable Johnson and Francis Johnson; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and numerous close loyal friends who will all miss him greatly and cherish every priceless memory.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at Robinson Funeral Home Chapel in Littleton, NC. Rev. George E. Battle will eulogize, and burial will follow in the Fidelity Baptist Church Cemetery, 627 Summit Road, Littleton, NC. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday evening, January 12, 2015, from 6:00-8:00 P.M.