Billy Harvey Johnson

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Billy Harvey Johnson, 73, of Columbus passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, after listening one final time to a Bulldog victory with his family.

Billy was born Aug. 23, 1944, in Mathiston to Harvey Johnson and Gladys Johnson Little.

He graduated from Greenville High School in 1962 and from Mississippi State University with a BS, MS, and Ph.D. (1971) in aerospace engineering.

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Dr. Johnson was employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES) for 30 years as a research hydraulic engineer where he achieved many awards and acclamations.

Shortly after retiring, Billy was selected to be included in the WES Gallery of Distinguished Employees. Upon retirement from WES, Billy founded an engineering consulting firm where he and other partners continued working until his death.

Earlier in his life, he enjoyed softball and running, and was a lifelong MSU athletics fan. Billy came from humble beginnings, as he was fond to say, but was very fortunate to have people in his life that saw his potential and nurtured him to believe he could achieve great things.

He was ever so grateful for the help he was given so he enjoyed mentoring and helping others achieve their dreams. His life philosophy centered on helping those less fortunate than himself and “paying it forward.”

When not working and helping others, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He took great pride in the achievements of his children and they are a testament to the impact he had on people in his life.

Billy is survived by his wife, Brenda Lenora Martin, Columbus; four sons, Billy E. (Lora Lynn) Johnson of Roseville, Calif., Charles A. (Kori Jo) Johnson of Honolulu, Hawaii, Hollis Langston (Christy Davis)Purviance III of Brandon and Francois Beghin, Brussels, Belgium.

In addition, he had many extended sons and daughters as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Finally, he is survived by his sister Jeanette Huffman, Eupora; nephews, nieces, and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Harvey Johnson; Gladys Little; sister, Ruby Diane Cothran; and brother in law, Paul Wayne Cothran.

The family requests that no flowers be sent, but in lieu of flowers, please donate to the Salvation Army, 604-982-4881, or the MSU Bulldog Club, 662-325-3074, in Billy’s name.

There will be no funeral service but instead a memorial celebration of Billy’s life will be announced at a later date to be held in Vicksburg.