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Friday, December 29, 2023
11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)
Neilson Lea “Neil” Johnson passed away peacefully Saturday, December 23, 2023, following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Born September 1, 1954, in Shreveport, Louisiana, his life was a testament to his passion for art, friendship, and storytelling.
Neil began his educational journey at Southfield School, then graduated from C.E. Byrd High School. He later earned a degree in journalism at Washington and Lee University. His work in a photo lab following his return to his beloved hometown ignited his lifelong passion to capture the world through his many camera lenses. And he was very good at it; he was renowned for his illustrious photography career.
Neil's enthusiasm for life and art was infectious. His gentle spirit, easy laugh, love for people, innate curiosity, and positive outlook brought joy to many, and made the world a better place. An ardent arts lover, his interests spanned opera, music, literature, film, and photography.
He cherished summer vacations on the coast of Maine, a tradition he enjoyed from childhood to an idyllic family holiday just this past summer. His world travels, always with a camera in tow, reflected his sense of wonder and unique perspective.
His legacy includes inspiring photographs that adorn countless walls around Shreveport, writing and photo contributions to publications like the Shreveport Times and Louisiana Life magazine and many photo-illustrated books. He also taught photography at Centenary College of Louisiana, where he enthusiastically shared his extensive knowledge with his students. His final years were focused on finishing two historical fiction novels.
He was well known and loved throughout the Shreveport area, where he touched many lives through his work and passion for people. A lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, Neil served as a deacon and an elder. He was a man of great faith.
Preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Melvin F. Johnson Jr. and Lea Morton Johnson, Neil is survived by his wife, Cindy Gleason Johnson of Shreveport; children, Bradford Johnson and Hannah Johnson of Denver, CO, and Luna Corzine of Shreveport; brother, Eric Johnson (Kathryn) of Savannah, GA; sister, Margo Johnson Williams (Larry) of South Freeport, ME; nieces and nephews, Righton Johnson Lewis, Marcus Johnson, Lea Williams, and Anne Williams; and many loving cousins. He also leaves behind his former wife, Rita Hummingbird, mother of his children.
A service to celebrate Neil's life and his faith in the Resurrection will be held in the main sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, 900 Jordan St, Shreveport, Friday, December 29, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. The service will be officiated by Rev. Dr. Will Scott. If you wish to honor Neil, please consider a gift to a local nonprofit in his name.
Neil touched many lives and enjoyed so many friendships during his lifetime; our beloved Neil would be proud to call each of you honorary pallbearers.
Neil, you’ve left a hole in our hearts, but we know you now stand tall and pain-free among the angels. We will miss the twinkle in your eyes, your slow and easy grin, your kind and encouraging words, and your ability to turn strangers into friends in an instant. Neil Johnson, you were a very special man. You will forever be missed.