Family and friends of Perry “P.J.” Johnson Jr. remembered him as a devout Christian, successful businessman and mentor.
Johnson died Tuesday, Dec. 6. He was 70. He founded PJs Nightclub and Event Center in 1978. His business remains in operation at 2411 University Drive.
Sandra Johnson, his wife, called her husband very kind and an extremely intelligent person.
“What a provider he was! If you would ask him to bring one thing, he would bring two of the same items,” she said. “There wasn’t a thing I would ask him to do for me that he wouldn’t do. We have been married for 50 years and I haven’t regretted one year. I will always love him for the wonderful years I will never forget.”
His daughter Tiffany Johnson praised her father as a strong, independent and well-loved businessman. She recalled that he cared about his community and customers and instilled a strong work ethic.
“There was nothing he would not do to accomplish that goal,” Tiffany Johnson said. “My father was my hero. He taught me what a real man and husband should be.”
She said her father worked for Cotton Belt/Union Pacific Railroad for 38 years as an inspector and parts foreman.
“He was a very proud man,” Tiffany Johnson said. “He had a heart made of gold. As long as you did right by him, he would do right by you. He was well-known throughout the United States.”
She said her family will continue to operate his night club to “honor and carry on his legacy.”
“My father was about business,” Tiffany Johnson said. “He always wanted us to maintain his business. Always take pride in your work no matter what.”
Tiny Johnson is another daughter of Perry Johnson Jr. and remembered her father for loving Jesus Christ, God, and family.
“He grew up in the Church of God in Christ,” Tiny Johnson said. “He was saved at a young age. He was grateful to God. He thanked the Lord for everything. If you listened, he would teach a Bible story. He sang in the [University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff] Vesper Choir.”
“We worked together and stayed strong as a family unit,” Tiny Johnson said. “He built that club as a family business. He demanded be a champion, not a chump. As a child, we did not understand his firmness. As we got older, we came to understand his tough love. He pushed us to be great. He said it takes a lot to be great in this world. He loved unity. He wanted people to come together.”
Tiny Johnson said her father was very involved in his community and gave money to UAPB.
“He gave cupcakes to children in the neighborhood provided the kids gave the password ‘Stay in School’, She said. ” He drove his car around Pine Bluff, found young men walking on the streets and served as a mentor. He provided jobs in the form of washing his car and cutting his grass.”
Shayla Moore, another daughter of Perry Johnson Jr., called her father the strongest person she knew and her superhero.
“He always taught me to be a leader and put God first,” Shayla Moore said. “He was really loving and caring to my family. He is truly loved and is going to be missed. He is the best dad in the world. I know he loved me and I continue to be the best entrepreneur I can be. I work hard to make him happy. He will be missed.”
He is also survived by sons Kenneth Johnson and Perry Johnson III and daughter Tinia Johnson.
Mattie P. Collins grew up with Perry “P.J.” Johnson Jr. and attended the former Southeast High School. She taught at Pine Bluff High School for 35 years where she taught his children.
“We knew each other all our lives,” Collins said. “He was a wonderful person and a great businessman. We knew each other at AM&N. I have worked with all his children in some capacity. They are extremely intelligent and very respectful. I think that speaks volumes. My heart goes out to them. He was a friend to our family. I remember his fabulous children.”