Obituary for Jim Johnson, Owner and President of Progress Container Corp.

Jimmie Andrew Johnson

Jimmie Andrew (Jim) Johnson, former President and owner of Progress Container Corp., Winder, Georgia, passed away on Friday, May 8.  He was 84. 

Jim was born on the family farm in Grayson, Georgia, on April 25, 1936.  He graduated from Snellville High School and lived in Snellville, Georgia for many years.  As a young man he became an accomplished salesperson in the printing industry.  In the 1960’s he went to work for a corrugated box plant in Conyers, Georgia, where he thrived in selling packaging in the north Georgia market.  In 1971 he opened Progress Container Corporation in Lilburn, Georgia.  The company focused on high customer service and quality, then moved in 1974 to a new facility in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  Along the way the business expanded to provide high graphics packaging along with industrial packaging, and the name was changed to Progress Container & Display.  The business outgrew the Lawrenceville property and in 2000 moved to its current campus in Winder, Georgia, where it is still owned by the Johnson family.

Jim was always known for his high integrity in life and in business.  He believed in treating his employees fairly and with compassion, and many today say that he was the best man they ever worked for.  Bill Hammock, who worked with Jim for decades, said “I cannot put into words what he has done for me and my family. He made me a better person both in my career and as an individual.  I could always go to him for advice on most anything.  I will dearly miss him, and he will always be in my thoughts every day.”

He was active in his community, church and industry.  He grew up attending First Baptist Church of Snellville, where his father preached for several years.  As a young man he became a Deacon in the church and served on multiple committees, including the large expansion in the late 1970’s.  He served as a Sunday School teacher and a leader in the Royal Ambassadors Boys Mission program.  He was also a longtime member of AICC, The Independent Packaging Association.

Jim Johnson Jr. remembers his father as a devoted family man, writing, “He loved his children dearly, and led with his faith in Christ.  Each child felt as if they were special to him. His work ethic and faith taught them the values that would sustain them in their own lives.  If you ask any of his children what words of advice did your father give, each would respond with, ‘Remember who you are!’  In our house, that meant if you are from his family, you have a responsibility to do the right thing all the time (and don’t embarrass the Johnsons!).”

He loved watching the Georgia Bulldogs, playing golf with friends and family, beach vacations with his whole clan, and visiting with his beloved parents Andrew and Verlin Johnson.

He is survived by his wife Jane; his children Janna Johnson, Jimmie Johnson, Jr., Jo Johnson, and Jill J. Barnes; sisters Ruth J. Smith, Brenda J. Robbins and brother-in-law Marvin Burton; and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Jim Johnson Jr., Progress Container Corp., 635 Patrick Mill Rd. SW, Winder, GA  30680, or jj@progresscontainer.com. An online book of condolences may also be seen or sent to www.wagesfuneralhome.com.  In addition, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimers Association Jim Johnson Tribute, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601; or to National MS Society, Georgia Chapter, Jim Johnson Memorial, 950 East Paces Ferry Road, Suite 820, Atlanta, GA 30326