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Philip Hale Johnson

Obituary for Philip Hale Johnson

January 16, 1938 - April 7, 2020
Elkton, Maryland | Age 82

Obituary

Philip Hale Johnson, 82, of Elkton, Maryland, died of natural causes at Union Hospital on April 7, 2020. Phil was born on January 16, 1938, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, to Warren and Jane Johnson. He and his brothers, Doug and David, helped their parents on the family turkey farm near Nottingham, Pennsylvania, growing up.

Phil owned a herd of Angus cattle by the time he was 12 years old and was active in the Calvert Boys 4-H Club, where he enjoyed livestock showing and woodworking. After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in agricultural education, Phil taught vocational ag for two years and then decided to be a farmer full-time, an occupation he continued for the rest of his life.

Phil attended school in Calvert, Maryland, until the tenth grade, when he transferred to Rising Sun High School. Soon after arriving there, a lively redhead caught Phil's eye. He asked Ruth Ann Ewing to a school dance, and then fell asleep leaning against the wall of the gym (he had been baling hay all day). Even though Ruth Ann had vowed she would never marry a farmer, she and Phil were married on September 10, 1960 and raised three children, Molly, Betsy, and Ross, on their farm north of Elkton, Maryland, on Blue Ball Road.

Phil raised pigs on Walnut Springs Farm for 30 years and strawberries for 43 years. The pick-your-own strawberry venture started in 1976 as a way to diversify the farm's income. Phil added raspberries a few years later. He was considered a leading expert on black raspberry and strawberry production, giving industry presentations and helping many other farmers establish and improve their crops.

Phil was a founding member of the Cecil County Farm Museum and worked tirelessly on that project for the past 20 years. He was an antique tool and farm equipment collector and had a passion for agricultural history. He was an avid local history buff of the Oxford and Cecil County area. He loved reading, listening to audio books, and attending auctions. He was a skilled woodworker and furniture maker and built tables, corner cupboards, and many pieces of furniture for family.

He was a life-long member of Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church and served on many committees. He was an active member of the Gideons International. His Christian faith was the most important part of his life, and he loved nothing more than listening to the church choir on Sunday mornings, directed by Ruth Ann.

Phil is survived by his high-school sweetheart and wife of almost 60 years, Ruth Ann, his children Molly Brumbley of Oxford, PA, Betsy (Bob) Freese of Indianola, IA, and Ross (Lana) Johnson of Elkton, MD, his grandchildren Nowlan (Daniella) Freese, Warren Freese, Caroline Freese, Nicole Brumbley, Meghan (Josh) Condon, Sarah Brumbley, Danielle Brumbley and Tika Siburt, great-granddaughter Ines Freese, brother Doug (Jane) Johnson, nine nieces, and many cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother David.

A celebration of life for Phil Johnson will be held in a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. The family is looking forward to seeing everyone at that time and hearing your stories about Phil. He was quite a character and will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Phil's memory may be made payable to the "Cecil County Farm Museum" or "Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church" and sent in care of R.T. Foard Funeral Home, PO Box 248, Rising Sun, MD 21911.

Services Pending. Please check back for further information.


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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Phil's memory may be made payable to the "Cecil County Farm Museum" or "Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church" and sent in care of R.T. Foard Funeral Home, PO Box 248, Rising Sun, MD 21911.

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R.T. Foard Funeral Home, P.A.

111 S. Queen Street
P.O. Box 248
Rising Sun, MD 21911
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