Pastor Retires After 53 Years

by Burl McClellan

Hood County News – June 2, 2003

Rev. Hiram Johnson, now retired, has his wife’s blessings for all the golf he wants to play. “When he plays golf in the mornings, I do not feel bad about the ‘honey dos’ in the afternoons,” Myrna Johnson laughed. The pastor has retired the second time after 53 years in the Methodist ministry. And, the couple celebrates their Golden Wedding anniversary Thursday.

Both the ministry and marriage developed at Texas Wesleyan College.

Johnson was licensed for the Methodist ministry when he was 17 and earned his bachelor’s degree at Texas Wesleyan College and later attended Perkins Seminary at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

It was at TWC where he met Myrna Wallace of Granbury. They were married June 5, 1953.

Johnson jokes that he married a Baptist, but his wife reminds him that she had joined the Methodist Church before the wedding.

He started his career as a youth minister. All of his pastorates have been in churches in the Central Texas Methodist conference.

He points out that he did serve a Dallas church for two years, but was assigned there from the Central Texas conference as a substitute pastor.

After serving churches in Cleburne, Waco, Belton and Euless, Johnson came to First United Methodist Church in Granbury in 1986. In 1993 the couple were assigned a church in Stephenville. During that time the couple built a home in Spanish Trail in Hood County and retired in 1995.

That same year he agreed to unretire and pastor the churches in Tolar and Waples. That ministry has lasted eight years.

Johnson is an Eagle Scout and has been active in Scouting most of his career. He has had a Scout program in most churches where pastored.

Like anyone serving in the public, Johnson has had some unusual, unprintable and humorous happenings in his career.

On the humorous and unusual side is the call to his home one night. A person he did not know asked if he were Rev. Hiram Johnson.

When he affirmed his identification, the woman said her grandmother had died and the daughter wanted him to do the service.

The woman told him when and where the service would be and the family would give him information about the deceased before the service.

Johnson still could not remember the woman, but pastors do funerals for people they do not know, so he went ahead.

When Johnson went early to meet the family, the deceased daughter looked at the pastor and exclaimed:

“You are not Hiram Johnson!”

The surprised preacher assured the woman he had been Hiram Johnson for many years.

He unwittingly solved the problem when he revealed he was pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Granbury.

“We wanted the Hiram Johnson at Oak Trail Baptist Church,” the woman explained.

His name is Garland Johnson, Hiram Johnson told the family.

The service was in Euless and there was no time for the other Johnson to travel there; Hiram Johnson did the service.

He said the late Garland Johnson got a chuckle out of the mix-up and said he wondered why he received a check for doing a funeral he knew nothing about.

The Methodist pastor said he will be an interim pastor, and teach Bible studies when he is needed.

Dr. Don Kelley, former county official and a Methodist minister, is now the pastor of the two churches.