AULANDER, NC – Johnnie Ray Farmer, Sergeant Major, US Army, Retired, age 70, of Millennium, passed away on Saturday morning, April 4, 2020 surrounded by his loving family at his residence.
A native of Hertford County, Johnnie Ray was born on November 1, 1949 to the late Ray Anderson and Evelyn Cecil Farmer in Ahoskie, NC. Johnnie Ray graduated from Ahoskie High School in 1968 and after one semester of college he was drafted into the United States Army, proudly serving his country and retiring in 1992 at the rank of Sergeant Major. While serving in the Army Johnnie and his family have lived in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, New York, Texas, and Stuttgart, Germany. Upon retiring he joined the Hertford County School System as an Army Instructor for the Junior ROTC for thirteen years until retiring from the school system. He continued to serve his fellow veterans as a member of the Hertford County Veteran Advisory Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion. Some of Johnnie’s military awards consist of, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Drill Sergeant Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, plus several other awards and medals.
In 1997, Johnnie Ray and Legionnaire Wayne Meeks, started American Legion Baseball in Ahoskie. They now have two teams, a junior and senior team. In 2011, Johnnie was inducted into the North Carolina American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame in Raleigh for his hard work in bringing Legion baseball back to life in Ahoskie.
Johnnie’s education includes an Associates of Arts Degree in Business Management from El Paso Community College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Park University, and a Masters Degree in Human Resource Development from Webster University. He is also a graduate of the prestigious United States Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Dedicated to the citizens of Hertford County, Johnnie Ray followed in his father’s footsteps serving on the Hertford County Board of Commissioners since 2000. Serving in many different capacities, he has served as Chairman, and Vice-Chairman, involved with the NCACC (North Carolina Association of County Commissioners), appointed by Governor Beverly Perdue to serve on the SHCC (State Health Coordinating Council), and served on the Hertford County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council.. In 2002, he was appointed to the Roanoke-Chowan Human Services. In 2004, he was elected founding Chairman of the Peanut Belt RPO (Rural Planning Organization). He was recognized as the 2011 County Commissioner of the Year by the North Carolina Council of Community Programs for his dedicated service in mental health. In 2012, he was appointed to represent Hertford County Commissioners on the Tri-County Airport Authority.
Upon his retirement from the Hertford County Board of Commissioners in 2018, Johnnie was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Governor Roy Cooper for his distinguished career in government.
Johnnie loved his family dearly and dedicated his life to taking care of them. He fought a courageous battle with his continued health decline. Johnnie Ray never stopped serving his church, Millennium Pentecostal Holiness Church, his family, his community, his country, and the American Legion. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed by all that knew him.
Johnnie is survived by his devoted wife Paula, son, Christopher J. Farmer and partner Jay Hembry of Colerain; daughter, Michelle Farmer Hoggard and husband Ben of Aulander; two grandsons, Addison Hoggard, and Michael Farmer; two sisters, Evelyn Ann Rawls and husband Ray, and Darlene Farmer Williams and husband Thomas; brother, Danny Lee Farmer and wife Judy, all of Aulander; four nephews, Travis Rawls, Thom Williams, Jon Williams, and Danny Lee Farmer, II; three Nieces, Kelsey Farmer, Denise Robinson, and Darlene Powell; along with a host of extended family.
Due to the circumstances, the funeral home will be open for friends to view and sign the register book on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, from noon until 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday, April 8, 2020 from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm with a limit of no more than 10 people at a time. For those wishing to leave a remembrance or sentimental message to Johnnie Ray and the family are welcomed and encouraged to do so during those times. There will be a remembrance journal available for family and friends to leave heartfelt notes and messages.
Johnnie began his military career at Fort Bragg and per his wishes, will return to the Fayetteville area where he will be laid to rest at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery. There will be a private family service with full military honors.
The family wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Vidant Medical Center, Greenville; Courtney Saunders, UNC LVAD staff; Dr. Katz, Dr. Volz, Dr. Chien, Dr. Adams, nurses; Ashley Downing and Mandy Bowen, Vidant Home Health nurse, Shelly Harris, and Vidant Hospice nurses, Melinda White and Angie Lassiter and Chaplin, Joy Phillips.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion Ahoskie Post 102, PO Box 1001, Ahoskie, NC 27910 or online by clicking here or Millennium Christian Daycare, PO Box 147, Aulander, NC 27805, or online by clicking here
Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Farmer family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting www.garrettsykesfs.com.