Mary Frances Pope Johnson
Mary Frances Pope Johnson
Mary was born Dec. 26, 1929 and died Dec. 29, 2015

Mary Frances Pope Johnson's children

Connie Johnson Moore

Robert Gerald Johnson
Joseph Raymond Johnson
Marsha Johnson Barfield
Renee Johnson Futch

Mary Frances Pope Johnson, Henry Branch, mother of Connie, Gerald, Raymond, Marsha and Renee, daughter of Agnes Stancil Pope, died at age 86. Her visitation was at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma on Jan. 1, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral officiated by her pastor, Timothy Sitter, was at Carter’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church on Jan. 2, 2016, at 11 a.m. She was laid to rest between her beloved William Robert and her infant daughter in the Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery.
Mary Frances with Lydia
Mary Frances Pope Johnson and granddaughter Lydia in 2015
Family photo

Frances, the daughter of Nancy Agnes Stancil and Clarence Raymond Pope, was born Dec. 26, 1929, in a Durham hospital. She died on Dec. 29, 2015 at home, surrounded by family.

She was the granddaughter of Nancy Ann Frances Barnes & Walter Henry Stancil and Bettie Ferrell & John Thomas Pope. She was named after her maternal grandmother.

Frances is survived by her children; Connie Johnson Moore, husband Ray; Robert Gerald Johnson, wife Ann; Joseph Raymond Johnson; Marsha Johnson Barfield; Renee Johnson Futch, husband Chris. Granddaughters: Dodie Moore Headley, husband Cole, children Grayson and Lanie; Amy Johnson Peedin, husband Shannon, daughters Carly and Chloe; Lydia Futch. Grandsons: Brandon Johnson, wife Jamie, children Colby and Caylee; Kevin Hartley, wife Brenda, children Kassi, Trinity, and Kendal. Brother: Marshall Barnes Pope, wife Jean; sister-in-law Betty Lou Hare Pope. Nieces: Kathy Pope Gallant, husband Richard; Elizabeth 'Libby' Pope, husband Jackie; Frances Pope Patterson, husband Kevin; Myra Pope Bridges, husband Ricky; Bonnie Pope Nutter, husband Bruce. Nephews: Brent Pope; Kim Pope; Randy Pope's widow, Terry Koger Pope; and David Pope.

Frances was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, William Robert, infant daughter born Jan. 15, 1971 son-in-law Aubrey Kent Barfield, brothers Raymond Eugene 'Gene' Pope, wife Grace, Charles Ray Pope, Henry 'Speck' Claiborne Pope, wife Carol Ann, nephew Randy Nelson 'Newt' Pope.

Frances’ parents moved back to Johnston County in early 1930 from Durham. She grew up on a farm where her daddy grew tobacco, cotton, wheat and corn. They had mules, a red jersey milk cow, Yorkshire hogs and Dominiques chickens. Frances never learned to milk, that was a job for her brothers.

Frances had four brothers; Raymond Eugene ‘Gene’, Marshall Barnes, Charles Ray and Henry “Speck” Claiborne.

Agnes had a large garden and Frances was involved from an early age in planting, hoeing, gathering, cooking, and preserving vegetables and continued this tradition throughout her life. Frances learned to make all the family’s special desserts. Favorites included pineapple cake, chocolate pies, pear, peach, huckleberry and apple pies, apple and cobblers and apple jacks.

Agnes made quilts for her children and passed this skill onto Frances. Frances made more than 20 quilts for children and grandchildren. Marsha recalled sitting under quilts when Frances held neighborhood quilting bees.

Agnes always kept some cats. When kittens were born, Frances named them. She remembered names of some, ‘Spot’, ‘Blackie’, ‘Ginger’, and ‘Tabby’. These cats stayed at the barn.

Frances grew up in Center Ridge Presbyterian Church. Frances remembered one Sunday, when Agnes drove the buggy to church, pulled by ‘Red’, their gentle and dependable mule. Frances was just two and one-half years old and Gene was six months old. Frances joined the church when she was seventeen.

Frances attended Glendale School. One time a local band played on stage. They were called, Bill, Greasy and the Sunset Ramblers. These band members were local celebrities. They played live music five days a week on radio station WGBR out of Goldsboro. William Robert Johnson was a member of the band. He played guitar and interacted with the comedian, Greasy, to set up his jokes.

Frances and William Robert met, fell in love, and were married at Reverend Tilton Renfrow’s home, on January 15, 1947. He was the son of Joseph Robert and Lula Mae Johnson.

Agnes gave them three quilts and William’s parents gave them three quilts. Frances wore a blue suit, white blouse, and matching blue shoes. Agnes attended the ceremony.

William Robert and Frances lived with his parents until they could buy a nearby farm. They made their home on that farm on Bluegrass Rd in Selma and filled it with a lifetime of memories. They worked hard, farming, raising a family, and purchasing additional farm land.

In 1955, Frances joined Carter’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. The congregation looked forward to times when Frances and William Robert sang hymns together as he played guitar. Frances’ favorite hymn was “How Great Thou Art.”

Daughter Renee shared this memory, “My favorite memory of my mother was when I was a little girl she would sing hymns in the kitchen. My favorite was How Great Thy Art. Mama said it was probably my favorite because she would sing it in church every Sunday while my daddy played the guitar when she was pregnant with me.”

For a few years, Frances worked the night shift at a rest home. She had the reputation as a compassionate caregiver. Frances was a blessing who went the extra mile to comfort her patients. She was always positive and you never heard her complain.

Over the years Frances made beautiful ceramics. These treasures will be given to her children and grandchildren.

Frances and William Robert were a team. They farmed together. Frances work ethic was outstanding and she always gave 110%. She worked in the tobacco crop from pulling plants to preparing it for market, while at the same time growing a large garden and preserving the bounty through canning and freezing with the help of Connie, Marsha and Renee. Her beloved William Robert died on Nov. 11, 2002. Memories of their wonderful life sustained her as she continued farming, hosting family gatherings and being an active church member.

Frances enjoyed traveling with a Senior Group. Favorite locations were Epcot Center, the Hersey Chocolate Factory in Hersey, Pa. Gerald, Ann, Connie, and Marsha went with her to Morehead City Music Hall in Morehead City, N.C., for a day filled with love and laughter. Frances, Connie and Marsha also made lasting memories when they visited Dollywood together on one of these trips.

Frances enjoyed Stancil Family Reunions.

Frances had a special cat she named, Kiddie. Kiddie was a wonderful loving companion.

Agnes taught Frances many important life lessons. One that remained close to Frances’ heart was, “Desiring the best for everyone and helping everyone you can.” She passed this on to her children and grandchildren.

Frances loved family gatherings and always had her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren gathered for a homecooked meal on Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Frances will be remembered for her beautiful smile, her kind disposition, always reaching out to others with a helping hand and her positive attitude.

Renn Stancil Hinton

Memories of Marsha Johnson Barfield

“Words I use to describe my Mama: faithful, strong, happy and loving. My mama was the strongest person I have ever known and I know her strength came from her faith in God. She always assured me that the same God that was in Heaven was the God that was with us here, watching over and caring for us.

Her love wasn't often expressed in words but ALWAYS in action. Her father passed away at a young age and being the oldest of five children, she helped her mama take care of her four brothers. All of them lovingly called her "Sister."

One of the memories she always shared about her childhood was that she liked to play school. She would be the teacher and her brothers were her students. She said that Uncle Marshall would let her dress him up so there would be a little girl in the class but that Uncle Gene would tear up the papers and stomp out because he didn't want to play school. After the children were all grown, her mama lived in a small trailer in our yard and Mama loved and cared for her daily until she passed away.

She married my daddy when she was 17 years old and loved him the rest of her life. She loved her children and raised us in the way we should go, even if that meant she chased you out of the house with the broom once in a while. :) She then helped us raise our children and was also a part of their children's lives.

One of my fondest childhood memories is of the times she stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes and singing "How Great Thou Art." She sang it so beautifully and in recent times when I stood beside her at church and we as a congregation sang that song, I would stop singing just so I could hear her sing it one more time.

As we shared stories a few nights ago and laughed over our memories of her and daddy, I thought of how blessed we all are to have had them both. If God had allowed me to pick, I could have searched the world over and not have found a better mama.

I am so blessed to have had her as my friend, as my role model, and most of all I am blessed that I get to call her "Mama". I will miss her until we meet again where we will spend eternity together!”

Marsha Johnson Barfield is the daughter of
Mary Frances Pope and William Johnson


A Tribute to my mama:

My mama was a beautiful women….inside and out!

She was not only my mother but my best friend and my number one inspiration. She worked hard all her life taking care of children….from little brothers, to her own children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren. She used to say God put me here on earth to take care of babies, farm and cook. And she was a pro at them all. When I was a little girl I remember crying everyday when it was time to go to school only because I didn’t want to leave my mama. I was the baby and we were tight. My sister Connie always said our umbilical cord never got cut.

I didn’t leave home until I was 25 years old and I cried then too. One of my favorite memories was her singing hymn’s in the kitchen when I was a little girl. My favorite one she sang was How Great Thy Art. She could tare that song up! She would tell me she sang it in church while my daddy played the guitar when she was pregnant with me.

I had so many wonderful memories like barning tobacco, helping her in the garden, going with her to ceramic class every Thursday night, going to work with her at the nursing home, going to the quilting’s at the community building, helping her plant flowers, and decorating her house. She always told me she depended on me too much. I would reply by saying but I love helping you because I love spending time with you. I sure am going to miss those shopping trips, going out to eat, and especially planting those flowers this spring. She was also a wonderful grandmother to my daughter Lydia.

She taught her so many great things that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Lydia definitely got her strength, compassion, and willing to lend a helping hand from my mama. That to me is priceless. I am so thankful I was there when God called her home and I got to tell her I loved her one last time. I wasn’t ready to let her go but as she always said … God makes no mistakes. I always prayed I would be there when both my parents went on to heaven and God answered my prayers. God sure did bless me with some really good parents and while I miss them both dearly I’m so glad they are resting together in heaven with Jesus. Rest Easy My Sweet Mama … until we meet again!

It’s a honor to be named after you,

Frances Renee

To my mama:

When I was a little boy we would go on family trips to the Mountains and sometimes daddy would get a little un-nerved driving in them high mountains and mama would have to take the wheel. She was always a strong women and could do anything. But some of my favorite memories were living with her for the past 10 years. I always looked forward to coming home to a good home cooked meal and talking about how our day went. She was a wonderful mama and I sure am going to miss all those conversations we used to have.



Memories of Granny:

My favorite memories of Granny were going with her to church, her teaching me how to sew, cook, clean, plant flowers, and cheering me on at horse shows. I loved grandma playing waitress, Avon and nail salon with me when I was younger. But the main thing was she taught me all about Jesus.

Granddaughter Lydia © 2016
About Us |
Contact Us
| Modified Jan. 25, 2016