Gwendolin Vanessa (Ghee) Blain Johnson
Ghee Johnson was the third of five children born to Jobe and Ruby McDowell Blain. At the heels of two older sisters, Ghee quickly took ownership of her unique and individual personality and style. It was simply not in her nature to follow anyone. Her nickname, first Ghee Ghee, was her sister Vickie’s attempt at saying Gwendolin, and shortened to a single ‘Ghee’ some years later. She became a one-name wonder!
Underneath what appeared sometimes to be a tough exterior, Ghee was as warm and caring, earnest and helpful a person as exists anywhere. When Ghee was seven or eight, a police officer drove too fast on the curvy dirt road where she and a dozen other children plays. Ghee stopped his car with her little hand, and scolded him. She threatened to call city hall to report him. We never had that problem again. She has spoken out her entire life for changes beneficial to others.
At the age of eight, Ghee distanced herself from the ever-growing Blain clan. With the births of Lynn and Jay adding to the competition for time and attention, Ghee moved in with her maternal grandmother, “Mother”, and never returned. It is well-accepted that Ghee needed three parents. She grew up testing boundaries, defying convention and refusing to accept the status quo. As a teen in the mid-1960’s, when many held tightly to traditions like wearing fancy hats and white gloves to church, Ghee often appeared in ripped jeans. Her response to critics was, “God said come as you are!”.
While a coed at Benedict College (Columbia, SC), being the outgoing and strong personality that she was, Ghee sold her blood and handled large snakes. She was often seen skateboarding across campus at a time when only white boys did so. Known for her many talents, Ghee later performed as a stand-up comic, a country singer, played golf, produced impressive photography, and even jumped out of an airplane! Ghee feared NOTHING.
On a fateful day in Atlantic Beach, SC, Ghee met Harold Johnson, and immediately knew he had ‘husband’ potential- he loved the Lord, valued education, cared about people, and was a rule-follower (opposites do attract!). The two married, and by birth or other means, became parents of Jarell (w. Katrina), Jerrod, Ta’tiyana, LaChaka, Kendra, and Tromaine. Their children are handsome, bright, educated, wholesome, Christian rule-followers. Harold and their children were her life.
Ghee is a Conway High Scholl (1977) and Benedict College (1981) graduate, a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a former Eastern Star Worthy Matron, a two-term Commissioner of the City of St. Pauls, a Folk Art Festival planner, an active member of the Cedar Grove M.B. Church and its choirs, and a retired social worker extraordinaire. As Harold so fittingly says, “Ghee made a broad shadow in St. Pauls and everywhere she went”.
Ghee’s bravery and boldness were centered in knowing that when and where she might run out of strength, or nerve, or knowledge, or power, God’s supply is endless. She stood firmly not on her own devices, but on the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of the Almighty. She trusted Him, and welcomed the entirety of his will.
Her father, Jobe Blain, and sister, Vickie Blain predeceased her. Many will sorely miss Ghee’s presence. Ghee’s husband Harold, children- Jarell (w. Katrina), Jerrod, Ta’tiyana, LaChaka, Kendra, Tromaine, goddaughter Khalia, mother- Ruby Blain, siblings- Barbara Blain-Bellamy (h. Bobby), Mamie (Lynn) Blain, Jobe (Jay) Blain, Bryan (w. Shaundra) Brown, and Shea (w. Leann) Clarkson, aunts and uncles- Ruth Ann (h. Ernie) Wilson, Bishop Edward Blain, Wilson (w. Mary) Blain, Grace Blain Carroll, Kelly (h. Ben) Blain Alston, and Jean Blain-Skeeters, in-laws- Flora Johnson, Delwood (w. Charlene) Johnson, Donna Johnson, and Linda (h. Frento) Burton, and scores of other relatives and friends have truly been blessed by God’s placement of Ghee in our lives.
The family of the late Ghee Blain Johnson gratefully acknowledges the countless acts of kindness you gave throughout the illness and homegoing of their loved one. May God forever keep you in the palm of His hand.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday October 20, 2018 at 11:00 AM at The Life Center, 498 E. McDuffie Crossing Road, St. Pauls, NC. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Gibson Cancer Center, 1200 Pine Run Drive, Lumberton, NC 28358, in lieu of flowers. Arrangements by McNeill Mackie Funeral Home of St. Pauls.