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Written by: Joyce Johnson Ph.D,

Mildred P. Johnson, D.H.L , a native of Birmingham, AL, was born 3 May 1930. Johnson, a retired religious educator (Bible Instructor) for the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s South Central Conference headquarted in Nashville, TN, served for 42 years. Although she began her professional career as a nurse, Johnson was inspired with a burning desire to share the gospel with others. After all, someone had graciously shared the gospel’s good news in the 1950s with she and her late husband, Washington Johnson, Sr., a veteran of World War II and retiree of United States Steel Corporation. The Johnson’s were blessed with six children, all of whom attended Oakwood University. 

Johnson worked both nationally and internationally with many noted evangelists, sharing the good news of the gospel with thousands—many of whom were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She broke the glass ceiling in evangelism during the 1960’s, a time when women were not as active in such roles. This was particularly evident with her singular female role during the initiation of the Evangelism Council at Oakwood University (currently referred to as the Pastoral, Evangelism, and Leadership Council, or PELC), where she facilitated all the Bible Instructor seminars.

Prior to COVID-19 family members had planned a traditional 90th birthday celebration for the family’s matriarch, but due to social distancing guidelines currently in effect in Alabama, the family decided to have a drive-by birthday celebration in Harvest, AL that included friends and colleagues. Among those participating were the Oakwood University president and wife Drs. Leslie and Prudence Pollard; Johnson’s Pastor, Dr. Carlton Byrd, Senior Pastor, Oakwood University Church (Huntsville, AL) and Speaker/Director, Breath of Life Television Broadcast, wife Danielle, and his three daughters; Senior Pastor, Debleaire Snell, First Seventh-day Adventist Church (Huntsville, AL) and wife Gianna (event photographer); Pastor Richard Long and wife Mildred, Pastor William Byrd and wife, Carol; and Pastor Michael Ross and wife, Judy; and Pastor Benjamin Browne and wife Janice (her daughter). She graciously and emotionally waved and thanked those who drove by to wish her a happy birthday. One of her favorite Scriptures is Psalm 90 where the Psalmist wrote “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom’” Psalm 90: 12