Paul Johnson

Obituary of Paul Andrew Johnson

Paul Andrew Johnson, 59, husband of Ercell Elvin Harkins, passed away on February 9th, 2024, in Lexington, KY. Paul was born in Tampa, Florida on September 11, 1964, to the late John William Johnson and Pola Urraca Johnson. Paul joined the Navy when he was 18; he wanted to serve his country. He waited until he was old enough, then his mom took him to Vet Center to sign up. Training was in Orlando, Recruitment Training Center. He did well, and advanced to Ship Servicemen Training at Boot Camp in Orlando. He graduated in 1982 with his mom by his side. The next day he was sent to specialty training school in Meridian, Mississippi at Meridian Naval Air Station for six months. He was then shipped off to San Diego to meet his ship, USS Willamette, to be stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He sailed around the world in 1986. He remembers sailing through the Panama Canal seeing so many lights and they were fireflies lighting up the sky. He visited the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Sardinia, Rota Spain, St. Thomas around Florida and back to Pearl Harbor. Kenya was the first country that he visited. He remembers how caring and kind the Kenyan people were. Very humble. He got to see Mt. Kilimanjaro while the ship was being refueled. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Battle E Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Expeditionary Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2 awards.) 

He moved to Kentucky in 1993 after leaving the service. He met Elvin Harkins on March 11, 1995. They have been together since then, 2024 will be 29 years. They were married on March 10th, 2015, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Paul spent his early years in Kentucky serving the community. He helped raise thousands of dollars for the GLBT community, particularly AIDS Volunteers of Lexington and Moveable Feast. He worked at the Hyatt Regency Lexington for over 20 years and another 2 years at Hyatt Place. He worked his way up to IT Manager at the Hyatt Regency. He’s been working at the US Post Office on Nandino Drive for over 6 years. He’s worked overnight processing the mail we each get the following day. In 2018, Paul and Elvin bought their first home, 1140 Four Wynds Trail. Paul has always taken great pride in keeping the yard and garden nice. One of his favorite activities was seeing the trick or treaters on Halloween. He always set up a table and decorated the yard for the kids and neighbors. When the trick or treaters finished at 8pm he would still get to work by 9pm. He has always loved decorating the yard and home for Christmas. In 2003 he drove a moving truck to Greenville, Mississippi to move Elvin’s Mom in with them. She was in poor health and afraid of a nursing home. She lived with them for the next 13 years before passing away at the age of 98. Paul never complained. He was even her primary caregiver in her final months when Elvin could not move her. He was her guardian angel. The next year his mother passed away from Pancreatic Cancer, but not before she was able to attend their wedding in 2015. Paul has spent most of his 59 years in service. First to his Country, then to his community and husband and family. He is the person that always tells Elvin it will get better, and the person that fixes things when they are broken. His passing will leave a gaping hole in Elvin’s heart, and in so many others. 

In addition to his husband, Elvin, Paul is survived by his sisters, Alison (Stephen) Sherman, Jan (Kevin) Egan, and Pamela Lamb (Bruce) his brother, John Johnson; and numerous nieces and nephews. Jennifer Retherford (Michael,) John Stephen Nicholas Sherman, Earl Anthony Crawford (Abigail,) with grandnieces Claire Crawford, George Earl Crawford, and Benjamin James Crawford. 

Paul was preceded in death by his parents. 

There will be a visitation for Paul on Friday, February 16 from 10-11am, followed by a funeral mass at 11am at St. Paul Catholic Church in Lexington, Ky. Burial will follow at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. 

Memorial contributions in honor of Paul Johnson may be made to That fund was set up to cover final expenses and medical bills. 

Paul’s favorite color is purple. Imperial Flowers, 393 Waller Avenue #17 in Lexington, KY is handling any flowers for the family. Gayle Stockdale is familiar with the family’s needs. (859-233-7486 or 

A special rate has been established by a former co-worker at Avid Hotel for $71/night. Ask for Teresa Moran. 1810 Bryant Road, Lexington, KY 40509. (859) 687-8100. 


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A Memorial Tree was planted for Paul
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Clark Legacy Center - Lexington
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