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MAJ Charles Winford “Zip” Johnson

MAJ Charles Winford “Zip” Johnson

Lee County, Mississippi, USA
Death 6 Apr 1995 (aged 65)
Troy, Oakland County, Michigan, USA
Burial Fraser, Macomb County, Michigan, USA
Memorial ID 18747191 · View Source
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Charles Winford Johnson was the eighth of nine children born to William Curtis Edgar Johnson and Mava Serena Munn.

He enlisted in the Army without telling his family. He was given orders to be at the bus station early on July 6th, 1948. At dinner on the evening of July 5th, he told his family he would be leaving the next morning. He loved the Army and after six months of training, he was given orders to report to Japan with the rank of Private. When he arrived in Japan, he was assigned to the company center in the Dai Ichi building in Tokyo. His Sergeant was Emerson E. Collins, his Captain was William Jenks, and his General was Douglas McArthur.

Sergeant Emerson Collins had an older brother and two nieces who lived in Michigan. Every week his oldest niece, Aliese, would write a letter to him because the family missed him and wanted him to know they were thinking of him. In 1949, Sgt. Collins wrote to his brother and told him about a really good, decent young man who was with him in Japan. He said the fellow was lonely, was a good soldier, had just become a Corporal and he would vouch for his character. He asked if Aliese could write cheery letters to young Charles W. Johnson.

So Charles and Aliese started trading letters back and forth about their families, what they thought the future would hold for them, and their thoughts and dreams of life. And Charles would be promoted again - to Sergeant.

During their correspondence, Aliese asked him if he had a nickname like Chuck or something else. He wrote that his family called him Charles, the Army called him Sergeant. He also told her that in Japanese, Chuck meant zipper. Aliese informed him that she was going to give him the nickname of Zip and from that day on, he was "Zip" to Aliese and her family.

In January of 1952, Charles was coming home on leave and wanted to meet Aliese. Once again, Emerson Collins vouched for Charles' character and he was allowed to come to Michigan to meet the family. When it came time to say goodbye, he kissed Aliese goodbye and she was in love.

On March 15, 1952, Charles and Aliese were engaged to be married and on September 5th of that year they were married. Their loving home was sweetened with four children who grew up much loved and blessed by their parents.

Charles became an officer in 1962 and retired from the Army in 1972. The family had lived on three continents and had many adventures. Charles and Aliese had spoken of how they would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary but they were married only 42 years before Zip was taken much too soon. If you should come visit Zip's memorial page around their anniversary, please take a moment to wish him a happy anniversary.

Charles was buried in his uniform, wearing all his medals and insignia because he was forever proud of being a soldier. His wife says that he was forever handsome, always had a soft voice with a southern accent, and he remained a most kind and polite man. He could always make Aliese's heart flutter and thump, and he adored her.

After his death, Aliese wrote this:
"On September 5, 1952 I became the bride of Charles Winford Johnson. On April 6, 1995 he passed away.

I miss the balance and rhythm of the cycle of marriage. I liked the Me that was a part of the We that worked so well together, and I never knew I could miss anyone so much as I do my life partner, my husband, my best friend.

He gave me my person, he taught me that humor and joy were so important, and that life offered adventures. He loved me even when I wasn't likable, he was patient and kind to everyone in his world and beyond, and best of all, he listened. He heard cries for help, yelps of joy and he responded to both in his own quiet, Southern way.

Life goes on... but it will never be the same."

Family Members


  • Created by: scrap
  • Added: 2 Apr 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 18747191
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  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for MAJ Charles Winford “Zip” Johnson (21 Nov 1929–6 Apr 1995), Find A Grave Memorial no. 18747191, citing Saint John Cemetery, Fraser, Macomb County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by scrap (contributor 46566254) .