On the morning of January 5, 2021, following a brief bout of septic pneumonia, Malcolm “Mac” Joel Johnson of Spartansburg quietly slipped off this earth into the ICU at St. Vincent Hospital, his two loving daughters at his bedside. In a circle of life demonstration, St. Vincent is the same hospital where he was born on October 19, 1943, at the end of Margaret Ann Welch Johnson and Carlton Joel Johnson.
Malcolm grew up in Columbus, Ohio, a suburb of Upper Arlington, where he attended Catholic schools until the 9th grade. He briefly entertained the idea of becoming a priest, but concluded that it was not for him because “he liked girls too much”. After moving to Upper Arlington High School, where he would graduate in 1961, he met the love of his life, Lynette Marie Brissey. Sharing the same birthday on October 19, they decided to also share the same anniversary date and got married on April 10, 1965.
They spent the first 12 years of their married life on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, where Mac was an equipment installer for the Bell Telephone Company. The fond memories of many summers spent with his grandparents in Spartansburg prompted Mac and Lynette to move their young family there in 1977. He was pleased to know that his grandchildren are at least the seventh generation of his family living there.
Mac took a job as a saw operator at McInnes Steel in Corry, and immersed himself in country life with gusto, raising wild chickens and rabbits, participating in annual deer hunts and fishing trips in Canada with friends and hauling wood to heat the large house in Washington Strada which he now owned and had long admired as a child. It was natural for her character to help out in her community by becoming an active member of the Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department, serving as an EMT in the Spartansburg Ambulance Service, and serving on the Spartansburg City Council for a number of years.
He became the brother of Spartan Lodge 372 of Free and Accepted Masons on New Year’s Day 1979 and remained a member in good standing of Titusville Lodge 754 at the time of his death. He was buried with the apron, parchment and sprig of evergreen and, as he wished, the family intended Masonic funeral rites to be part of his funeral services.
In the early 1990s he followed a whim of his wife (as he often did) and moved with her to a new home on Britton Run in Sparta Township, where he enjoyed the constant work of remodeling, fitting in his giant garage and mow the acres around his pond and wooded property. Many years of wonderful family memories have been created there for her beloved grandchildren, Rachel Louise Cox and Leah Irene Cox, of Pittsburgh, Logan Joel Saborsky, of St. John’s, Arizona, and Lucas John Saborsky, of Spartansburg.
He is also survived by his daughters; Amanda Jane (Steven) Cox and Margaret Joel Saborsky, both from Spartansburg, and her sister, Linda Marie McGowan, also from Spartansburg. He was immensely proud of the people his children and grandchildren had become, and often told him so, considering his family his greatest achievement. His humility and gratitude for the blessings life had given him was pure and honest, and he always expressed himself with a captivating sense of wonder.
Mac once described himself as an average guy. Average weight, height, job, income and home. A wife, two children and a dog. All true. But the fundamental truth was this. He was always exactly what his family needed him to be. Responsible. Reliable. A safe place in a storm. Silent but always listening, loving unconditionally while encouraging excellence. Kind, kind and wise. Teaching values through his daily example of hard work with no complaints, and being the only one he could always count on to do the right thing from his family, friends and community.
Mac was there for every important event for his children, grandchildren, family, friends or community. Every match or concert, every representation or show, every baptism, first communion or confirmation, every degree, every wedding, every hour of call or funeral. Any family reunion or party. Any card game or fishing trip. Every firefighter dinner or community fundraiser and every Spartansburg Fair. He took every opportunity he was given to support his community or to honor a human being he cared about. He kept every promise he made and every vote he gave.
Malcolm was an average man who created an exceptional life through his expressions of love for others.
Mac had a quick wit and an ironic sense of humor. He liked to be sociable and was always ready for a party or a drink with a friend. He loved R&B and soul and could sing and dance it with the best of them. He was proud of his appearance and always dressed for the occasion. He wrote beautifully and read extensively, with a keen interest in current events and the world around him. He loved old cars, animals and turquoise jewels. He had a strong sense of fair play and despised bigotry and brutality in all forms. No better description of him could be found than the words of Mica 6: 8. “… for what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?”
In the years following his retirement from McInnes Steel, Mac and Lynette returned to the Spartansburg district to make their last home even closer to their daughters, where after a long illness Lynette would precede him in death on March 8, 2019.
Private burial services for close relatives were handled by Askins Cremation Funeral Services. Both a funeral beside the tomb and an informal celebratory vigil will be announced by the family by the end of the summer.
Mac would have been pleased that friends and family would consider making a donation in his name to the Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department or a veteran, animal, or children’s charity of their choice.
- According to this source Malcolm “Mac” Joel Johnson, 77 | Obituaries
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