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VSRA Loses a Founding Father

Wayne K. "Billy" Johnson, Sr., 85, of Chesapeake passed away peacefully in his home on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Billy was one of the founding fathers of the South Tidewater Association of Ship Repairers (STASR) which was later to become today’s Virginia Ship Repair Association.   He served as the President of the South Tidewater Association of Ship Repairers in 1984. He was also a founding Director of STASR / VSRA.

Born in South Norfolk, he was the son of the late Albert S. Johnson, II and Thelma Mae Cain, and was also predeceased by two brothers who also worked in the ship repair industry, Sid & Buck Johnson.

Billy graduated from South Norfolk High School in 1947. He was a SGT 1st class U.S. Army from 1948 to 1952, a 1954 Apprentice School graduate from NSDD, and a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He worked for many ship repair companies including NORSHIPCO, Jonathan Corporation, Norfolk Ship Repair and as President of Allied Repair Services for many years.

His career in the ship building industry spanned over 65 years.  Billy was regarded as a waterfront legend by both the Navy and Contractors. While he was known for his technical expertise and ship repair abilities, but even more for his gentlemanly behavior and natural ability to get everyone to work together and solve the day to day ship repair problems.

He was an avid softball player, boater and was also active in his church, supporting many charitable and youth organizations.  He demonstrated class, patience, and kindness in his every endeavor training many of ship repair’s industry leaders of today.

Survivors include his loving wife of 66 years, Patricia Johnson; children, Patty J. Albertson (Gary), Billy Johnson, Jr. (Susan) and Brett Johnson (Helena); grandchildren, Ryan Albertson, Ashley Perez and Tristan Johnson; three great-grandchildren, Briana, Alex and Jackson.

The industry will miss “Mr. Billy” as we fondly remember his contributions to STASR / VSRA and to the history and legacy of many of the ship repair companies in the Hampton Roads community.

About the Author

Dan is a partner with Vandeventer Black and concentrates his practice in Government Contracts, Ship Repair and Construction Law. Dan established and chaired the Firm’s Construction and Public Contracts Department for many years. Dan also served on the firm’s Executive Board for sixteen years.


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