Jimmie Andrew “Jim” Johnson, former President and owner of Progress Container Corp. in Winder, Georgia, passed away on Friday, May 8. He was 84.
Johnson was born on the family farm in Grayson, Georgia, on April 25, 1936. He graduated from Snellville High School and lived in Snellville, Georgia, for many years. As a young man he was an accomplished salesperson in the printing industry.
In the 1960’s he went to work for a corrugated box plant in Conyers, Georgia, where he thrived in selling packaging in the north Georgia market. In 1971, he opened Progress Container Corporation in Lilburn, Georgia, and in 1974 moved to a new facility in Lawrenceville, Georgia, expanding to provide high graphics packaging and industrial packaging and the name of the company was changed to Progress Container & Display. The business outgrew the Lawrenceville facility and in 2000 moved to Winder, Georgia, where it is still owned by the Johnson family.
“I have memories as a 7-year-old of my father sitting at our kitchen table with his soon-to-be production manager,” said Jim Johnson Jr. “They were planning the opening of Progress. With a small loan from friends and a mortgage on our house, the business opened and soon was thriving. He was the ultimate American entrepreneur.”
Johnson was also known for his integrity in life and in business. He believed in treating his employees fairly and with compassion, and many today say that he was the best man they ever worked for.
Bill Hammock, who worked with him for decades, said, “I cannot put into words what he has done for me and my family. He made me a better person both in my career and as an individual. I will dearly miss him, and he will always be in my thoughts every day.”
Johnson was active in his community, church and the corrugated industry. As a young man, he became a deacon in his church and he was a longtime member of AICC.
Jim Johnson Jr. remembers his father as a devoted family man: “He loved his children dearly, and led with his faith in Christ,” he said. “Each child felt as if they were special to him. His work ethic and faith taught them the values that would sustain them in their own lives. If you ask any of his children what words of advice did your father give, each would respond with, ‘Remember who you are!’ In our house, that meant if you are from his family, you have a responsibility to do the right thing all the time…and don’t embarrass the Johnsons!”
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Jim Johnson Jr., Progress Container, 635 Patrick Mill Rd. SW, Winder, GA 30680, or [email protected]. Online condolences may be seen or sent to www.wagesfuneralhome.com.