A longtime agriculture instructor at Joliet Junior College is being remembered as someone passionate about the industry and the students he taught.
Bill Johnson passed away Tuesday as he was completing his 50th year teaching at the school. Johnson was hired by JJC in 1968 and was instrumental in starting the JJC ag production curriculum.
“We are eternally grateful for Bill’s dedication to JJC, agriculture education and his thousands of students,” said a statement posted to the Joliet Junior College Agriculture/Horticulture Facebook page.
Current Prairie Central FFA advisor Kyle Miller was a student of Johnson’s from 1988-1990.
“Bill was a great teacher – very knowledgeable and very supportive of the students all the time,” said Miller.
Anyone involved in ag education knew Johnson, who was a strong advocate for the FFA. He recruited several high school students from this area to attend JJC. Johnson could be seen at the JJC booth each year at the Prairie Central FFA Farm and Home Show in Forrest.
Louis John Slagel, owner of Slagel Family Farm near Fairbury, was also one of Johnson’s students and appreciated his efforts as a teacher.
“It’s probably the way he would have wanted it, because I don’t know if there’s anything he enjoyed as much as teaching and doing what he was doing,” Slagel stated.
Private family services are planned and the school hopes to hold a public memorial service soon.