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ASHER F. JOHNSON, JR.
Nov. 22, 1927 - Oct. 21, 2015

A Franklin County community leader and icon, Asher Frank Johnson Jr., died shortly after noon on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 after a period of declining health. He was 87.

He was born in Louisburg, NC on November 22, 1927 to the late Asher F. Johnson, Sr. and Florence Silver Johnson. As a youngster Asher helped his father around the office as a "printer's devil" and all-around helper until he was big enough to set type and operate printing presses. During those years, he apparently got "ink in his blood" and has never been far from the publishing and news business except during his service in the military, where he served in the US Navy during World War II and the Korean Conflict until March 1952 at which time he came back to Louisburg to be the managing editor of The Franklin Times, a position he held until he resigned on January 31, 1964.

Asher served as public relations director for a manufacturing firm in Sanford while publishing a weekender publication in Durham, established a commercial printing plant in High Point, and served a brief period on the staff of the Mebane Enterprise before returning to Louisburg as radio news director at WYRN where he became vice president of the Franklin Broadcasting Company. He sold his interest in the radio station and returned to The Franklin Times as associate editor and plant manager. Until his retirement in April, 2013, his "According to Asher Johnson" column was a sometimes controversial but always insightful addition to The Franklin Times' editorial page.

He was a lifelong member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg, where he sang in the choir, served as a lay reader, was a member of the church Vestry and a former Senior Warden. Asher was very active in his community where he founded the Louisburg Rescue Service and worked diligently forming rural fire departments. He gave an untold number of hours to Red Cross first aid instruction throughout the county and served as chairman of the Franklin County Red Cross Chapter. He served as both secretary and treasurer of the Democratic Party and he served two and one-half terms on the Louisburg Town Council. He was chosen as Louisburg Man of the Year by the Louisburg Rotary Club in 1959 and in April of 1960 he was featured as Tarheel of the Week by the News & Observer. Shortly before his retirement from The Franklin Times he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jean Wrenn Johnson; his four sons, Harry Johnson (Nancy), Stephen Johnson, Frank Johnson, III (Dianna) and Wesley Johnson; his two daughters, Julia White (Rodney) and Leslie Hester (Rockey); eleven grandchildren, Chelsea, Asher, Frank IV, Adam, Andrew, Street, Sarah, Hannah, Ryan, Quint and Emma; his great grandchildren, Evelyn and Mae; his brother, Fred Johnson (Sue) and his sister, Margaret Shephard. Asher was preceded in death by his siblings, James Asher Johnson, Edward Frank Johnson, William Hardy Johnson, Adelaide Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Dr. Sadie Johnson, Florence Foster, Myra Green and Jean Edge.

The family will receive friends Saturday, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Lancaster Funeral and Cremation Services, 804 N. Bickett Boulevard, Louisburg and at all other times at the home. A memorial service will be held Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg with the Reverend Dr. Lauren Winner officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Louisburg Rescue Service, 121 Davis Street, Louisburg. Online condolences may be made to www.lancasterfcs.com.

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Members Opinions:
October 24, 2015 at 7:08pm
I miss him
October 26, 2015 at 3:42pm
I remember Asher when he returned to Louisburg in 1952 and rented a room from my parents, Jim and Vick Allen on North Main St. Even then, as a young man, he was cocky, articulate, and enjoyed arguing with my father. I always loved reading his column because I knew Asher would tell it as it was. Yes, he was truly an icon of Louisburg!



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