Olene Chambers Johnson
Olene Chambers Johnson, 96, passed away on August 10, 2021, in Goldthwaite, Texas, after a short illness. Funeral arrangements will be with Stacy Wilkins Funeral Home in Goldthwaite. Visitation will be Thursday, August 12, 2021, from 5.00-7.00pm at Stacy Wilkins Funeral home in Goldthwaite. The funeral will be at the First United Methodist Church in Goldthwaite on Friday, August 13, 2021. Receiving of friends will be from 12.00-1.30 with the service starting at 1.30. Serving as pallbearers will be Steve Bridges, Gerald Hale, Tommy Head, Mike Lee, Gary Summy, and Owen Yarborough. Layton Black will serve as the honorary pall bearer.
Olene Chambers Johnson was born on June 30, 1925, in Burkett, Texas, to Walter and Muriel Debusk Chambers. Her father Walter was a rancher, coach, and superintendent at Burkett schools for over 30 years.
Olene grew up and attended school in Burkett, Texas. The Chambers family was a close knit family that eventually grew to five children. During the depression years of the 1930s the family took care of many of their neighbors by providing food and help when needed. In May 1942, Olene graduated from Burkett High School.
She married her husband Y. B. Johnson of Coleman, Texas on June 5, 1943, in Gainesville, Texas. Due to the hardships of WW2, Olene and Y. B. saw each other only a few times before he was sent overseas to Europe in September 1944. The separation due to the war lasted for almost three years. During the war, Y. B. saw extensive combat and finally came home in June 1946.
While her husband was away during the war, Olene worked at the Coleman Bank, in Coleman, Texas. She faithfully wrote letters every day to Y. B. while he was away. The war years were a very difficult time for the young couple. They were separated and lost many of their good friends in the conflict.
In the fall of 1940, Y. B. had started at A&M. Before he could start his Senior year, the Armed Services conscripted his entire class before they started their final year due to a shortage of soldiers. Upon Y. B.'s return home in 1946, he and Olene went back to A&M where he finished his education and played baseball for the Aggies. Olene told stories, "of how she would warm him up by playing catch before games he was scheduled to pitch in." Texas A&M was a wonderful time for the young couple with many veterans around and everyone starting a new life.
In May 1947, Y. B. finished his degree in Vocational Agriculture, and the couple began to look for a school that needed a new Ag teacher. There were numerous choices for the Johnson Family to make their home, but after visiting the wonderful folks in Mills County, they decided to make Goldthwaite their new home.
Y. B. and Olene's first house was on Reynolds Street in Goldthwaite. It was an entertaining neighborhood with wonderful neighbors that included Bob and Virgie Johnson along with their son Robert Henry, Harold and Gertrude Yarborough, and Daphane Evans. There was never a dull moment.
During the 1940s and 1950s, entertainment for the young couple consisted of bridge games, square dancing, trips, and socializing with their many new friends. Many baseball games and trips were made throughout the state as Y. B was playing minor league baseball along with many of the local teams.
While Y. B. was Ag teacher in Goldthwaite from 1947-1955, they were extremely busy during stock show season. Several kids from Goldthwaite won Grand Champions in the major shows throughout the state. Olene was at all of these stock shows helping with the cleaning and show prep for all the animals. During this time, the couple also started their own farming and ranching operations.
In 1953, the couple welcomed their first child when Johnny was born. Jett was later born in 1961. Once their first child was born, Olene became a full time homemaker taking care of her family.
In 1955, Y. B. started to work for Hollis Blackwell Wool & Mohair, and in 1972 took over the operations of the warehouse in Goldthwaite. During these years Olene cooked many wonderful meals and entertained wool and mohair buyers from all over the world. Her home cooked meals were something everyone looked forward to. We would like to think that the wool and mohair producers in Mills County received a few extra cents per pound because of those home cooked meals.
Other visitors that enjoyed Olene's meals at her house included many SWC football coaches that would come through Goldthwaite including Gene Stallings, Jack Pardee, and Loyd Taylor from A&M.
With the death of her husband Y. B. in 1979, Olene went back to work at Mills County State Bank in Goldthwaite. Olene held numerous jobs with the bank during her twenty year career.
For entertainment, Olene and her good friend Della Geeslin had a weekly trip to Brownwood every Thursday for Mexican food and shopping. She and Della also took trips throughout the country.
Olene also made yearly trips with her family attending her husband's WW2 Army conventions (99th Infantry Division) that were held in different locations each year throughout the US. Many dear and wonderful friends were met on these trips.
In 1994, Olene was invited to attend the 50th anniversary tour of the Battle of the Bulge that took place in the Ardennes Forest of eastern Belgium. An American film crew from the show "Turning Point" was with her group. Olene was filmed visiting Y. B.'s battle sites and foxholes. The Belgium people had numerous celebrations for this group and thanked all the Americans for helping them acquire their independence. The show was later broadcast nationally on ABC. Olene stated, "this was one of the most amazing and sentimental trips she ever took."
In 2005 as she was approaching he 80th birthday, her kids asked her what she wanted. Her reply was that she wanted to make one more trip back to Belgium and Germany. Johnny and Jett took her back again to many of the battle sites from WW2 and she had a wonderful time visiting with her friends in Belgium and Germany.
Olene was very proud of all her Grandkids and enjoyed watching their extracurricular activities when possible. She enjoyed babysitting, cooking for her family, and teaching her cooking skills to her granddaughter Gwendolyn.
Olene is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law Johnny and Mary Farrar Johnson of Houston, and Jett and Amy Johnson of Goldthwaite. She has four grandchildren, Beau Johnson of Houston, Travis and Amie Mathews Johnson of Houston, Gwendolyn Johnson of Dallas, and Jett Jay Johnson of Goldthwaite. She has one great grandchild Frances Louise Johnson of Houston. Olene has one sister Aleta Coleman who lives in Brownwood. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband Y. B. Johnson in 1979 and three siblings, Juanita Edington of Burkett, Gordon Chambers of Bedford, and Harold Glen Chambers also of Bedford.
Special thanks to her numerous friends along with her church members from the Methodist Church who checked on her and brought her food. Also, thanks to the volunteer group with meals on wheels, the Senior Citizen helpers, the entire staff at Hillview Manor, the many doctors and nurses who looked after her, and the group from Solaris Hospice.
The family request donations can be made to the Goldthwaite Cemetery Fund or to the First United Methodist Church in Goldthwaite. Floral arrangements will be provided by Fancy Flowers in San Saba, Texas. (325-372-7800)
Brother Doug Holtzclaw and Pastor Marvin Ewertt will officiating.
Posted online on August 11, 2021