Liriodendron tulipifera flower

The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Compiled by Carol Ann McCormick, Asst. Curator, NCU

Wiley Carroll Johnson, Jr.
(1 January 1930 – 20 July 2006)


The University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU) has catalogued only a handful of specimens collected by W. C. Johnson. With only about 10% of our collection catalogued, it is possible that more specimens collected by him will be found.


TIFTON GAZETTE.  Obituaries for July 22, 2006. 

AUBURN, Ala.  – Dr. Wiley C. Johnson, Jr., 76, of Auburn, passed away Thursday, July 20, 2006.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn with Dr. Frank Covington officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika. Burial will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Johnson family plot at Locust Field Cemetery in Canton, N.C.

Dr. Johnson was born on Jan. 1, 1930, in Asheville, N.C., and was the son of Wiley C. Johnson Sr., M.D.., and Ora Matthews Johnson.

He was raised in Canton, N.C. He was a graduate of Canton High School, Wake Forest University and North Carolina State University. He received his Ph.D at Cornell University, where he was trained as an agronomist and plant breeder. 

In 1957, Dr. Johnson joined the faculty at Auburn University in the Agronomy and Soils Department and worked in that position until his retirement as professor in 1992. During his distinguished 35-year career, Dr. Johnson conducted research as a forage legume breeder, general agronomic research on forage legumes and managed the Alabama Official Variety Testing Program. He excelled as a teacher and regularly taught courses each quarter during his career. He was a highly respected faculty advisor for agronomy undergraduate majors. He served on numerous graduate student committees and as faculty advisor for the Auburn Ag Ambassadors. Dr. Johnson was a long-time member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Group and was chosen for membership in the agricultural honorary society, Gamma Sigma Delta.

Dr. Johnson received numerous college and university awards for his dedicated teaching and student advisory programs; Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence (1989), SGA Outstanding Faculty for the College of Agriculture (1989, 1990), and the Agronomy Club Outstanding Teacher Award (1982, 1987, 1990 and 1992). He was personally gratified by watching his former students excel in their own professional careers. Since his retirement from Auburn University, Dr. Johnson has been Director of Research and Plant Breeder for Whitetail Institute of North America in Pintlala, Ala. He was responsible for the development of the company’s forage legumes planted by sportsmen throughout the continent.

Throughout his life, Dr. Johnson devoted countless hours to serving the Lord though the First Presbyterian Church and community service. Dr. Johnson and his family have been faithful members of the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn for 49 years. He served many years as elder, Sunday school teacher, treasurer and in numerous other capacities. He was a 40-year member and past president to the Auburn Lion’s Club. His numerous duties included decades of work at Auburn football, basketball and baseball games, along with yearly light bulb and broom sales. He was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow Award in 2003 for outstanding service to Lions International. Dr. Johnson was active for many years in the Boy Scouts of America, serving as assistant scoutmaster of Troop 15, committee member, merit badge counselor and adult leader. He was very active in PTA and was instrumental in organizing the PTA’s Annual Halloween Carnival — a major fundraiser for the PTA for many years. When his sons were young, he coached Little League baseball for several years. In recent years, Dr. Johnson volunteered at the Auburn Food Bank and their outreach effort, the Brown Bag Program.

Dr. Johnson is survived by his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth Calvin Johnson; his sons, Dr. Wiley Carroll Johnson III (June) of Tifton; Dr. Calvin M. Johnson (Mary) of Auburn; grandchildren, Frances Elizabeth Johnson, Gardner Calvin Johnson, Anna Murry Johnson and Sara Carroll Johnson; and his sister, Jane Johnson Bird and her husband Dr. W.T. Bird of Waynesville, N.C.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn Building Fund or to the Auburn Food Bank.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.



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University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
fax: (919) 962-6930

Last Updated: 16 August 2013