KYLE — William Mose Johnson Sr., an 84-year-old Kyle resident, died on Monday, June 23. He was born June 20, 1930 on a family farm in the Goforth area of northeastern Hays County.Johnson attended Buda schools starting in first grade and graduated from Buda High School in 1947. During his school days, he met lifelong friends Bob Barton and Henry Armbruster and excelled in athletics, especially basketball and baseball.
After a year attending classes at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, now Texas State University, Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army and re-enlisted at the onset of the Korean War. Stationed in Germany, he served in the military until 1952 when he returned home and married Eugenia “Gene” Crumley of San Marcos.
In 1953, Johnson and Barton — neither of whom had newspaper experience or much money — bought the struggling Kyle News. After a year in the newspaper business, Johnson sold his ownership interest in the newspaper to Barton for a box of cigars and accepted a position as a teacher and coach at Kyle High School.
In his new job, Johnson taught eight subjects and coached all junior high and high school boys’ sports. He also drove the team bus to games, maintained the athletics field and cleaned the dressing rooms. Under his coaching, the Kyle Panthers basketball team became a powerhouse, winning its district every year between 1955 to 1960 and its region from 1956 to 1960, a period during which the team teams lost only one home game and posted a record of 172 wins and 34 losses. The Panthers were state champion finalists in 1959.
In 1960, a 29-year-old Johnson was appointed superintendent of the Kyle school district, beginning an administrative career that lasted for 24 years. In 1967, he was chosen to lead the merger of Kyle, Buda, and Wimberley schools into the new Hays Consolidated Independent School District. Because he was born in Buda and had become a pillar of the Kyle community, Johnson was in a unique position to bridge the intense rivalry between the two neighboring communities. He served as Hays CISD superintendent until 1984.
Following his retirement as a school district administrator, Johnson served as a consultant on school campus for Pfluger and Associates, an Austin-based architecture firm, and sat on the board of the Texas Education Agency’s Region 13 Education Services Center. He also devoted himself to raising awareness of local history, a passion he shared with his wife. They published a book about Kyle High School titled “Panthers Fight, Never Die” and were active in efforts to preserve and restore Kyle’s historic downtown.
Johnson was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Kyle for many years, serving as a Sunday School teacher and deacon. More recently, he was a member and deacon at First Baptist Church in Buda.
Johnson is survived by his sister, Mac Freeman of Buda, and three children: Leslie Jones and her husband, Glen, of Buda; Buddy Johnson and his wife, Nancy, of Buda; and Bobby Johnson and his wife, Pam, of Longview. He is also survived by granddaughters Reagan Berry, Sarah Johnson, Emily Johnson, Bethany Johnson and Hannah Johnson; grandsons Jason Jones, Kyle Berry and Trey Johnson; great-grandson Wylie Berry; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Moe and Gene Johnson were married for nearly 60 years before her death in August 2013. Johnson was also preceded in death by his parents, Mose Johnson and Mabel MacMillian Johnson and two sisters, Elizabeth Lancaster and Ethel Gould.
The family will receive friends 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, June 27 at Harrell Funeral Home, 1715 Kirby Lane in Kyle. Services will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, June 28 at the Kimbro Building next to Kyle Elementary, 500 Blanco St. The Rev. Jeff English, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Kyle, will officiate. Burial will follow at the Kyle Cemetery on South Old Stagecoach Road near Kyle.
Memorial contributions can be made to the building fund at First Baptist Church of Buda, 104 S. San Marcos St., or to the Kyle Public Library, 550 Scott St.
The family wishes to thank the staffs of Seton Medical Center Hays and Legend Oaks Health Care and Rehabilitation, both in Kyle, for their care and compassion during Johnson’s last days.Email | Print