Cover photo for Betty Johnson's Obituary
Betty Johnson Profile Photo
1931 Betty 2018

Betty Johnson

August 22, 1931 — July 6, 2018

Mrs. Betty Medlin Johnson, 86, of Cleveland, Tennessee, passed away from this life to meet the Lord on July 6, 2018.  She was the wife of Dr. Bobby G. Johnson for 65 years when he passed in March of 2013.

She is survived by her daughter, Regina Isom and husband Gene of Cleveland, her daughter, Yaunna Higgins and husband Phil of Cleveland, her son, Dennis Johnson and wife April of Cleveland, her son, Byron Johnson and wife Jackie of Waco, Texas, her daughter, Tanya Hall and husband David of Richmond, Virginia, her son, Rebble Johnson and wife Laurie of Cleveland, and her daughter, Jill Micco and husband Michael of Nashville, Tennessee.  Their seven children gave them 17 grandchildren and 39 great grandchildren.  Betty was the last of the 10 Medlin brothers and sisters.  She is survived by 2 sisters-in law, Kay Medlin and Caroline Medlin, both of Caruthersville, Missouri, and 1 brother-in-law, L.W. Spell of Hazlehurst, Georgia, and 58 Medlin and 35 Johnson nieces and nephews from all over the country.

Betty grew up in Caruthersville, Missouri.  In her early teens, she observed her older brother, Floyd, fasting and praying for his 9 siblings while working in the sweltering heat of the Missouri cotton fields.  He was desperate for them to experience the same salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit that he had recently experienced.  Betty was so touched by her brother’s testimony, she accepted the Lord, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and began her life-long journey with Christ.  Throughout her life, she followed her brother’s example – being a witness to all with whom she came into contact. 

Betty met the love of her life, Bob, during a church youth outing her parents were hosting on the farm.  With all his persuasive charm, he asked her for a hot dog before the picnic began.  When he placed the hot dog on his head and covered it with his hat, Betty was star struck.   After employing further tricks he had up his sleeve, Bob convinced Betty to marry him 4 months later.  Two of those months were spent convincing her parents. When asked later in life how she knew Bob was the one, Betty explained her certainty was sure and simple, “I was serious about my faith and knew he was, too.  Every time we entered the church while courting, he would pat my hand gently and tell me he’d see me after church.  He’d proceed to park himself on the front row with his Bible open ready to learn.  I knew if he loved the Lord and kept Him first, as I did, he was the right one.”

Bob and Betty married in January of 1948.  They moved to Cleveland where Bob enrolled in Lee College and where their first 2 children were born.  After Lee, the family moved to Memphis for Bob’s graduate work.  In the next 5 years, Bob and Betty added 3 more children to the family.  Schooling and parenting kept them busy and fruitful.  A job offer took the family to the Last Frontier the year Alaska became a state.  Bob and Betty added number 6 to the family – their very own little Eskimo.  In the early 1960’s, the family moved to Houston for Bob’s PhD work.  While Bob’s education took priority for a season, Betty made plans to return to college after her youngest child started school.  Two of Betty’s classmates were her own 2 daughters.  She graduated from Lee with a degree in elementary education and taught school in Tennessee, Alaska, North Dakota, and Virginia.  For decades, people told Betty how the Lord must have known what a great mother she would be, so He gave her a big family to demonstrate how much He trusted her.  On Bob and Betty’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, she announced to the family that these statements were completely untrue.  She believed God knew the only way to keep her out of trouble was to keep her busy.  Having 7 children kept her on her knees, full of humility, and completely dependent on the Lord.

The lesson she taught her children best was to forgive quickly.  She never held a grudge.  When questioned about this ability to forgive, she claimed she never had enough energy to hold on to anger or unforgiveness.

No discussion about Betty would be complete without mentioning her passion for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.  The family’s favorite story involved Bob and Betty returning from a 2-year stay in Alaska and finally getting to go to a Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop to buy a dozen when the red light was flashing.  Bob claimed that when he reached into the box to get his 4th doughnut, the box was empty.  Betty claimed he had miscounted.  She was certain she had only eaten 8.

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 3:00 p.m. Monday, July 9, 2018 at North Cleveland Church of God with Reverend Mitch Maloney, Reverend Phil Higgins, and Chaplain James Hitte officiating.  Interment will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the church prior to the service.

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Johnson family guestbook at

Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Betty Johnson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, July 9, 2018

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Monday, July 9, 2018

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Services

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Chattanooga National Cemetery

1200 Bailey Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404

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