SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WRBL) – Alabama Representative Ronald Johnson has passed away at the age of 76. Johnson’s death was confirmed Tuesday evening by House Public Information Officer Clay Redden.
The Republican from Sylacauga served as the Dean of the Alabama House of Representatives. Redden say Johnson died Tuesday afternoon from liver cancer complications.
For more than 40 years, Johnson held the District 33 seat that includes portions of Clay, Coosa, and Talladega counties, according to Redden. Johnson was also the longest continuously serving member of the Alabama House of Representatives.
Johnson was one the most respected members of the House according to Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, who offers his condolences to the Johnson’s family.
“In my years as a member and speaker, I valued Ron not only for his institutional knowledge that helped guide me but also for his friendship,” says McCutcheon. “He made sure the voices of the people of his district were always heard. My wife Debbie and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family.”
Secretary of State John H. Merrill is also offering his condolences to Johnson’s family, saying he is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of his dear friend and my former colleague. Merrill says he was fortunate to have known Johnson, and is incredibly grateful for his friendship, leadership, and guidance. “He leaves behind a legacy that will set an example for future legislators to follow for decades to come. His courageous attitude and eagerness to lend a helping hand to any in need will be deeply missed,” says Merrill.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivy has ordered that flags be flown at half staff in honor of Johnson until Wednesday at sunset.
“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Rep. Johnson this evening, following his recent cancer diagnosis. Ron and I have served together for many years. He was a real champion for the communities in Talladega, Coosa, and Clay. He was engaged with the needs of his constituents, and never turned them away. He has offered much of his life to serving the people of Alabama, and I know his colleagues in the House, friends in the Senate and I will miss working with him. I pray that his loved ones feel peace knowing he is no longer suffering and is finally at rest,” says Ivy.
Originally elected as a Democrat, Johnson switched to the Republican Party in 1998, according to Redden.
Johnson served on the agenda setting House Rules Committee. He was vice chair of both the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and the House Health Committee.
Johnson was a pharmacist with degrees in chemistry and biology from Florida State University and a pharmacy degree from Auburn University.
He is survived by his wife Susan and his daughter Stephanie Lee.