William A. Johnson

 William A Johnson, my Uncle Bill

W.A. Johnson, hailed as gentleman lawyer

By Larry Keller

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, October 23, 2005


William A. Johnson practiced law for 59 years in Palm Beach County, but when people search for words to describe him, they use adjectives seldom heard in connection with attorneys: Honest. Gentle. Courtly. Polite.

"Lawyers today are so litigious... they have to one-up the other person. Bill Johnson was a true gentleman who believed in trying to resolve disputes by talking things out," said fellow attorney Wallace McCall. "He was the most wonderful, kind, gentle man I ever met."

A North Palm Beach resident, Mr. Johnson died Friday. He was 89.

Mr. Johnson was from a family of lawyers. His father was one of the first attorneys in West Palm Beach. His late brother, Thomas H. Johnson Sr., was a state attorney, state senator and circuit court judge. Some of his nephews are lawyers, too.

A graduate of Lake Worth High School, Mr. Johnson obtained his law degree from the University of Florida. He was a commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He practiced civil law in West Palm Beach, volunteering many hours to the Braille Club of the Palm Beach County before finally retiring in 2000.

His wife of 31 years, Yoko, recalled that a judge once told her that her husband was "the most honest lawyer in Florida."

"I'm very proud of his character," she said.