Francis Mitchell Johnson, Jr., died peacefully at his home on October 8, 2023, after a sudden and brief illness with glioblastoma brain cancer. He was the loving husband to Felicia McIntyre Johnson and the son of the late Francis Mitchell Johnson and Margaret Silcox Johnson.
Born May 14, 1951, in Charleston, Mitchell was graduated from Porter-Gaud School in 1969, and then attended Davidson College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics in 1973. As a result of his academic achievements at Davidson, he was awarded a Morehead Fellowship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned his Masters in Business Administration. He then went on to attend law school at the University of South Carolina, where he earned his Juris Doctorate and was admitted to The Order of the Wig and Robe. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. He lived its motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.” Mitchell had a successful 45-year legal career at Sinkler Gibbs & Simons, now known as Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., where he considered his colleagues his second family. His contributions serving as bond and underwriter’s counsel are well known nationally throughout the public finance community. He was a member of Charleston County Bar Association, South Carolina Bar Association, and National Association of Bond Lawyers. His decades of legal work on major financings for student-housing projects, universities, foundations, retirement communities, and health care facilities will continue to provide incredible benefits to young students, elderly residents, community members, and patients for many years to come.
Mitchell loved to tell stories of his childhood and time spent with his sister, Margaret, the Baker clan, and friends and cousins galore on Sullivan’s and Wadmalaw. He was a lover of sports which started early at East Bay Playground, where he formed lifelong friendships playing football and basketball, and honing his ping pong skills that led to two consecutive state championships as a young teenager. Anyone who knew Mitchell then, knew of his mischievous antics and competitive spirit, although he was always a gracious winner. Mitchell’s passion for sports continued throughout his life, and he loved the Colts, the Celtics and the Yankees. Consistently triumphant at any game involving trivia, he also loved a good debate, particularly about politics. His curious and meticulous nature made him knowledgeable on many varied subjects, including the proper use of English grammar, which he claimed was instilled in him by his maternal grandmother, known to his family as “Baba”. While possibly infuriating some, she would be proud. This rare combination of qualities combined with his quick wit made him an interesting and entertaining lunch companion. Mitchell loved his food, but mostly he loved the company it brought. He was known for his tireless and persistent efforts to keep his “lunch crew” active. Back in the day, he was a years-long regular at the old Pinckney Cafe; with his lunch pal, Marshall Huey, where you could find them sitting on the porch and enjoying an “M” sandwich on any weekday ending in “y”. It is also where he had his first date with the love of his life, Felicia, after many months of receiving what he jokingly referred to as “the velvet boot.” But Mitchell was persistent, and it paid off. He liked to say he wore her down. Even in his final days, he continued to profess his love and adoration for her to anyone and everyone who would listen. He claimed that she was his purpose. He continued to work full-time and was thankful for his long term partnerships with both Hugh Tanner of Raymond James and Robert Kim of Hanover Pacific, whose friendships he valued highly. He also loved to travel and take trips with his wife, when possible. Although he was a natural athlete and talented at many sports, he could have been a really great golfer had he devoted more time to it, but he only spent sporadic weekends on the course. Instead, he spent most weekends going on movie dates and attending live music concerts with Felicia, or making improvements to a document for a client. He was a talented and dedicated lawyer, a loving and protective brother and uncle, a devoted husband, and an equally devoted friend. He never gave up on you, even if you went months without saying yes to a lunch invitation. He was dearly loved by many. He could be counted on to provide wise counsel to those who sought it, in particular, the younger lawyers at his firm, and some graciously credit him for much of their success. That counsel will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.
Along with his wife of 28 years, he is survived by his sister, Margaret Johnson Davis; two nieces, Margaret Davis (John) Barham and Helen Davis (John) Britton; and many extended family members. We would like to acknowledge the gracious support of all our friends and give special thanks to: Jeremy Cook; Carter and Rebecca Deupree; Charlton deSaussure, Jr.; Clay Grayson; Marshall Huey and Barbara Rivers; Gill Johnson; David and Elizabeth McDowell; Tamme Suggs; and David and Gail Yarborough, who rallied around us to lend their invaluable support in his final months.
We would also like to thank his care providers at Agape Hospice, with special thanks to Bill Glover and Brenda Campbell of Home Instead, who lovingly helped care for him in his final weeks.
Family and friends are invited to attend his funeral service on Friday, October 13, 2023, at Grace Church Cathedral, 98 Wentworth Street, at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow the service in the church parish hall. A private interment will be at St. Philip’s Church at a later date. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to glioblastomafoundation.org or to the F. Mitchell Johnson Scholarship Fund, The College of Charleston Foundation, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29401. A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com.