Benjamin “Nelson” Johnson was healed and made whole the evening of December 21, 2020. Nelson spent 66 years, 11 months, and 4 days on Earth being a cowboy and steward to the land and animals. The only thing he ran into that was more stubborn than him was COVID. Or, maybe he just decided the Winter Solstice of 2020 was a good place to ride off into the sunset.
Nelson was born Sunday, January 17, 1954. He got his raising in Fairfax, Oklahoma by Benjamin Franklin and Charlene Myrtle (Abington) Johnson. He was the third of five children. Sharing his dad’s first name, he soon became affectionately known as “Nelson”.
Growing up he attended Fairfax Public Schools and during his high school years participated in basketball, track, annual skits, and science club. He was also known for his ability to tear up automobiles. Nelson proudly graduated with the 1972 Red Devil Class of Fairfax.
In 1981, Nelson married Angela Tallchief. To this marriage a daughter, Dana Bear, was born.
Nelson wasn’t afraid of many things and certainly not of marriage. He went on to marry Anita Betschart. This marriage brought two children to the world, a daughter, Baylee and a son, Cooper.
Nelson gave domestic bliss another shot with Kathy Warkentein. Kathy and Nelson added a daughter Raylee to his pack.
One of the best things Nelson passed to his daughters was his big smile and infectious laugh. Those that know his girls will immediately be reminded of him when they see them smile or hear them laugh. It’s a smile that makes you feel important and a laugh that makes the bad in the day fade away.
Nelson’s son, Cooper, shares his love of being a cowboy and living a cowboy lifestyle. Nelson also passed on the ornery twinkle in his eye to Cooper. You couldn’t help but wonder what was up Nelson’s sleeve and the feeling is the same with Cooper.
From an early age, Nelson had a passion for being outside with horses and animals. He loved to spend his time roping, riding, or training horses. He treasured his friendships with other cowboys and cowgirls. He worked for many ranches and helped neighboring ranches where he could. He loved the small town country lifestyle and avoided cities as much as possible. He started his life in Fairfax and lived in various small towns but came back to live out his life at home, Fairfax. In the past few years, Nelson could be found enjoying a meal and quality conversation with friends at the Osage Nutrition Center in Fairfax.
Upon seeing Nelson, you knew you were in the presence of a true cowboy. Rough around the edges and full of a big heart would be how many would describe Nelson. He was genuine, above all else. You weren’t going to get anything but his true feelings about a situation. His sense of humor was often on display. He had a dry approach and a boisterous end to his jokes.
Nelson was preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Charlene, brothers Billy Ray and Jessie Johnson, his paternal grandparents Joseph Client Johnson and Lotlie Howard Johnson as well as his maternal grandparents Jerry Nathanial and Viola L. (Grahm) Abington.
Nelson is survived by his daughters Dana Bear, Baylee Johnson and Raylee Johnson; son, Cooper Johnson; grandsons Benny Reeves and Braxton Johnson; granddaughter, Story Bear; two sisters Carlotta Johnson and Clara Pat (Johnson) Sparks; many nieces and great nieces, nephews, and countless other relatives and friends.
Cremation has been chosen under the care of Hunsaker Wooten Funeral Home. A private family service will be held at later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Nelson’s name by calling Hunsaker Wooten Funeral Home, 918-642-3228, or by mail at PO Box 237, Fairfax, Oklahoma 74637, to help cover the funeral costs.