Alice Ruth Lyons Johnson, 96
Alice Ruth Lyons Johnson, 96, of Batesville, passed away June 28, 2020, at
the Madison County Nursing Home in Canton. She was born Oct. 22,
1923, in Sardis to parents Thomas Elias Lyons and Malishia Gipson-
She was married to Marvin Johnson for 60 years and had six children.
Ruth’s education began at Harmonia and Green Hill Schools in Sardis for grades
1 – 4. She attended Walton Chapel for grade 5 and then Gibbs Grammar School in
Little Rock for grade 6 where she stayed with family.
She returned to Walton Chapel for grades 7 – 11 and graduated valedictorian from Oxford High
School in 1943. Ruth would eventually attend Mississippi Industrial College in Holly
Springs and obtained an Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood
Education in 1977.
She also took courses at the University of Mississippi.
Ruth found her calling in education and was a teacher and administrator at
Macedonia Headstart Center for over 23 years. She was the recipient of
numerous awards for her dedication and hard work to the students and for her
commitment to excellence in the performance of her administrative duties as the
She took immense pleasure in developing the minds of her young
students and was often rewarded with visits from many of her former students once
they became adults.
She beamed with pride as she learned of their success and
accomplishment in their professional and personal lives. Ruth was also a substitute
teacher in the North and South Panola County School District for many years until
her full retirement.
She was a devoted member of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church for 60
years and served as church announcer for more than 40 years.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic graveside services will be held at Macedonia
Missionary Baptist Church, Batesville, Sunday, July 5 at 1 p.m. with Rev. Dr.
Zannie Leland, Jr. officiating.
Cooley’s Mortuary has charge of the service. The family will hold a memorial service at a later date.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Marvin Johnson; parents, Thomas Elias
and Malishia Gipson-Lyons; paternal grandparents, William Lyons and Luvenia
Harris Lyons; maternal grandparents, Robert Gipson and Alice Burns Gipson; two
brothers, Calvin and Leroy Lyons; and her stepmother, Idell Beale Lyons-Hassel.
Survivors include six children, Michael Johnson (Bonnie), Cheryl Johnson (Eugene),
Kenneth Johnson (Gloria), Dr. Reginald Johnson, Cynthia Benford (George), and Edgar
Byron Johnson (Joyce); two sisters-in-law, Allie V. Johnson and Rosie Lyons; one
stepdaughter, Idella Ware; two sisters, Bonita White of Memphis, and Mary Alice
Hodges of Chicago; a brother, Judson Evander Lyons of Battle Creek, Mich.; six
grandchildren, two step grandchildren, two great grandchildren, three step great
grand-children, one step great-great grandchild and a host of cousins, nieces,
nephews, friends and church members.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Jude’s
Children’s Research Hospital in her honor. The address for donations can be sent to
262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.