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Joseph A. (Jay) Johnson, Jr.

ABINGDON, Va. – Joseph A. (Jay) Johnson, Jr., 80, passed away peacefully Friday, May 27, 2022, surrounded by loved ones.

A life-long resident of Abingdon, he was born on July 22, 1941 to Joseph A. and Marian Eller Johnson. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Marion Eller (“Whitie”) Johnson.

Alongside his father and brother, Jay initially worked at Abingdon Motor Company, and pursued his love of automobiles (and trading) by subsequently acquiring several auto franchises in Bristol, before retiring in 2007. As a dealer, Jay won numerous prestigious awards, including the Toyota President’s Award and the Chrysler Five Star Award for Excellence.

Jay was a graduate of Emory & Henry, where he served on the Board of Visitors. An avid Hokie sports fan and frequent attendee at sporting events for over 50 years, Jay also served on the Board of the Virginia Tech Athletic Association Fund.

In addition to his love of VT athletics, Jay was also a passionate animal and nature enthusiast. He particularly enjoyed spending time and bonding with his animal companions – a Jack Russell terrier (Hemi) and, most recently, two miniature donkeys (Dominick and Darla).

Surviving family members include his wife, Karen of Abingdon; his children, Chris Johnson of Dallas, Jennifer Thompson and husband Greg of Abingdon, Mary C. Johnson of Bristol TN, Jeremy Houser and wife Jessica of Hickory NC, and Joshua Houser and wife Holly of Sterling VA.; seven grandchildren, Anna Thompson, Emme Thompson, Smith Houser, Nixon Houser, Eliot Senter, Braden Houser, and Adley Houser.

Visitation for Mr. Johnson will be held on Tuesday, May 31, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church with the funeral service officiated by the Rev. Kevin Campbell conducted immediately following. Interment will be privately held for family Wednesday at Knollkreg Memorial Park. Honorary pallbearers include employees from his family of dealerships, close nephew Jeff Johnson, as well as dear friends Lee Scott Horne, Sonny Porterfield, George Heath, Hank Odem Larry Haley, and Gary Latham.

The funeral service will be available online by visiting and clicking livestream. The family extends special thanks to Drs. Emory and Retha Robinette, Dr. Denise Sibley, and Dr. James Schrenker for their continued support and counsel, as well as Ms. Toby Jordan for ongoing assistance and friendship.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Abingdon Faith in Action (, the Bridge Home rescue ( or VA Tech athletics by contributing to the “Hokie Scholarship Fund” at the following address:

VT Gift Accounting

902 Prices Fork Road (0336)

Blacksburg, VA 24061

Online condolences can be submitted to the family at

Frost Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Abingdon is honored to serve the family of Joseph A. (Jay) Johnson, Jr.


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