Henrietta Johnson was born April 2, 1924, the tenth child of Oscar and Millie (Price) Baker (both preceded her in death) in Leon County, Texas.
Mrs. Henrietta lived a joyful life in the Hopewell community, proud, and loving her relatives and friends. She accepted Christ at the early age of eleven in Hopewell Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. E.D. Overall on a Thursday night during a revival where Rev. Noah was the preacher. It was during the song, “Come, Come Don’t You Want To Go” when she made the decision to be the Lord’s servant, and she served faithfully until her health no longer allowed her. But she strived to do her best at all times. She remained a faithful and active member for eighty-three years from baptism to her death. Mrs. Henrietta endured through numerous pastors, deacons, and changes. She served in many capacities including teaching Sunday School at an early age (Primary and Junior Classes), teaching BYPU at the age of fourteen to the adults, singing for many years in the choir and serving as Youth Director for too many years to count to Hopewell and the Regular New Home District Association. Until her death, she continued to advocate for the Regular New Home District Association to march on. She was the Junior Mission President for many years and cherished the second Sunday service every March with the “tan dresses” and Rev. Dominick or Rev. Jones bringing the message. Mrs. Henrietta loved to teach to all and loved everyone equally. She never met a stranger and was a genuinely happy person in Christ.
Mrs. Henrietta met and married Henry Melvin Johnson on Labor Day, September 5, 1949 (he preceded her in death). The first time he met her, he told her he was going to marry her and those “pretty legs,” and HE DID, though it took him over five years to get her to the alter. She refused to marry because she was caring for her aging parents, plus, her brother’s and sister’s children as they worked. She was married at the age of twenty-five. By that time, in those days, she was considered an “Old Maid.” Mr. Henry romanced her by writing her poems about her smile and her legs, and during their whole marriage Mr. Henry would comment that Mrs. Henrietta’s dresses were too long and he couldn’t see her legs. Mrs. Henrietta and Mr. Henry were married sixty-three years and had seven children, seventeen grandchildren, thirty-two great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. She knew her days were numbered so, this past Christmas, Mrs. Henrietta gave fifty-four handmade pillows with her name on each one to each of her “grands” to remember her. Most of her years were spent raising her children, nephews and nieces, grandchildren and anyone else in the community that needed a place to sleep, eat or rest. Her children recalled that at least over fifty people had stayed one year or more with them at various times during their childhood. Though she had very little most of her life financially, Mrs. Henrietta was God’s doorkeeper for others. She would give away a pot of beans cooking on the stove, new sheets, quilts that she had made for her home, anything growing in the garden, fruit and eggs. The more she gave away, the more she wanted to give away. She truly embodied the proverb “It is better to give than to receive.” Mrs. Henrietta was so giving that when folks would show up after 10 P.M., she would get up with her sleepy and angry children to cook a full meal. If you were cold, she gave you a handmade quilt; if you were hungry, she gave you a meal; if you were tired, she gave you a bed and if you didn’t know Christ, she would gladly make an introduction.
Mrs. Henrietta was a homemaker most of her life, but she loved to tell about chopping and hoeing cotton, picking peas, stripping sugarcane, hoeing sweet potatoes and working for Ms. Nellie. She also loved to talk about working at the Gristmill, making maple syrup and how she had helped her Papa weave chairs. She loved quilting, sewing, canning, gardening, reading the Bible daily, praying several times a day, reading religious books, watching T.V., preaching, reading the weekly newspaper and listening to the KIVY radio station out of Crockett.
Mrs. Henrietta passed from this life into the arms of Jesus on April 20, 2018 in Bryan, Texas. She leaves to carry on her Christian light of faith: sons, Reggie (Janice) Johnson, Ezra Johnson and Nelson Johnson; daughters, Mildred (William) Roquemore and Gloria Johnson; daughter-in-law, Mary Johnson; sister-in-law, Vera Baker (who was married to Chester); special nephews, Mac and Mark Baker (cared for Mrs. Henrietta the last few years) and loved and cherished honorary daughters, Betty Wilson, Sherry Brown and Connie Williams. She will be missed by a host of nieces, nephews and grandchildren who love her dearly.
Mrs. Henrietta was preceded in death by children, Alvin Ray & Wanda Faye Johnson; granddaughters, Rolanda Johnson and Cheyrel Roquemore; and was the last survivor of ten children that include Albert Baker, Garfield “Garf” Baker, Robbie “Rag” (Jack) James, Berta “Butch” (William) Tryon, Carrie “Cat” (Question) Henderson, David “T or Tanky” (Littie) Baker, Willis “Coon” (Carrie Mae) Baker, Chester “Obabe” Asvear, Openola “Seal” (Sam) Kelly and Myrtle Lee “Lay or Youngun” (Johnny Benny) Williams. Though they all preceded her in death, she often spoke of them to her children and grandchildren to keep their memory alive. Mrs. Henrietta believed in the Baker’s legacy and wanted it to live on by the family staying together, loving each other, praying together and trusting God’s will.
A celebration of life for Mrs. Henrietta took place at 11 A.M., Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the Hopewell Baptist Church in the Hopewell Community northeast of Centerville. Rev. Darrell Porter officiated the service; Rev. Danny Baker served as the congress president; Rev. Ezra D. Johnson gave the eulogy and Rev. Lynn Bolton served as the moderator. Interment was in the Hopewell Cemetery, adjacent to the church.
Pallbearers: Marshall Baker, Garian Roquemore, D.J. Thompson, Randall Johnson, Nelson Johnson, Jr., Glenn Henderson.
Honorary Pallbearers: Wilbert Baker, Tyrus Johnson, Darrell Lewis, Earl Baker, Mark Baker, Mac Baker, Cedrick William.
Final Arrangements were entrusted to Walters Funeral Home in Centerville, Texas. www.waltersfuneralhome.com