Johnson remembered as a ‘pillar of the community’

Former Port St. Joe City Commissioner James Gregory “Greg” Johnson, 75, passed away on Feb. 13 with his family by his side.

Known for being a dedicated member of the community, Johnson served as a commissioner for two years under former Mayor Melvin Magidson.

Port St. Joe Mayor Rex Buzzett, who was a commissioner on the board with Johnson, said that even when Johnson was not serving as an elected official, he was always willing to step in and help make sure the city and community ran smoothly and effectively. 

“Everything you can think of in the city, he was involved in,” Buzzett said. “He got on the city commission and was a tremendous help in financial areas of the city, refinancing our loans, consolidating our loans.”

“And even, really, until recently when he was no longer physically able to, he helped our current city government with city finances.”

Johnson’s four decade banking career shaped many of Port St. Joe’s institutions. He was President and CEO of Citizens Federal Savings Bank and formed Bayside Savings Bank. According to his friends and family, he credited much of his professional success to the support of his coworkers.

Johnson was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe where he served in several leadership and support roles including vice chairman of the building committee creating the Great Hall, the only part of the church’s structure that survived Hurricane Michael.

“We remember him for spearheading that project, and without that labor, we would not have anywhere to meet,” said Geoffry Lentz, the church’s reverend. “You could hear people sniffling through the entire service Sunday,” he continued. “And new folks in the community just said ‘wow. How do you get remembered like that?’”

“He was a pillar of the community. He went to everything. He supported all of the community events and centers. He was known for being a banker, and he could get people loans when they wouldn’t qualify elsewhere. He was able to help people start businesses and buy first homes and really lay the foundation for the future.”

Services will be at 4 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Feb. 17 at the First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe in the Great Hall, with visitation at 3 p.m. Eastern. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to The First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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