Ernie Johnson Jr.’s eulogy from funeral for his father

Ernie Johnson Jr. spoke in honor of his father, legendary Braves broadcaster Ernie Johnson Sr., at his funeral service Tuesday morning at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Sandy Springs, drawing both laughter and tears. He began by citing Bible verses from Galatians and 2 Timothy and said ”I have no doubts where the right-hander is today…And I’m sure he’s heard the words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”  Here are excerpts from his touching eulogy.

“When we moved here in 1965, I’d never played Little League baseball. I played baseball out in the front yard, but my dad somehow – after sign-ups had all been filled out everywhere – got me into Murphey-Candler Little League program. I was 8 years old, going on 9, and they assigned me to a team, called the Vees. V-E-E-S. I have no idea why. We had some titanic struggles against the H’s and the L’s that year.

“But in one particular game I was playing shortstop for the Vees and a guy hit a screaming liner, or as screaming as a liner can be from an 8-year-old bat. It took one hop over the fence. Ground rule double. A couple of runs scored. Game was tied. Our coach called all of us infielders to the mound and we talked about what was going to happen if the ball was hit to us. And as much as we as 8-year-old comprehended, we nodded and retreated to our positions.

“And as I ran back to short I noticed that we did not have a left fielder or a center fielder. So we trotted out to the fence. I looked over and there about 5 or 10 yards was the baseball. About 15 yards down to the right were the left fielder and the center fielder, eating blackberries. God’s honest truth.

“And I know as I grew up, why that happened to me as an 8-year-old. It’s because as I grew older and had more of an appreciation for life and what you put into it, and what you get out of it, that there was a lesson to be learned there. That a lot of times we get so caught up in the game, that we miss the blackberries.

“God has put so many moments that blessed us. I call those blackberries. And those blackberry moments, if we get too tied up in what we’re doing in our jobs, in the game, in whatever it is, we’re missing out on so much.

“My life has been filled with them. Our family’s been filled with them. There are some blackberries for (my sister) Chris. She said, ‘My dad was the perfect dad for a tomboy. He realized a fishing pole was just as good a fit as a Barbie doll for girls like me and taught me to fish when I was 5 years old. It was a hobby that we shared for over 50 years. He let me take horseback riding lessons when I was 12, we used to go riding in the fall when baseball season was over.’ That was spreading blackberries with a fishing pole and horseback riding.

“And my sister Dawn, who was all about the winter time. My dad growing up in Vermont knew every trick that came with the two feet of snow we’d get in Milwaukee. Building these ridiculous snow caves, making snow angels, teaching us to ice skate, putting these ridiculous-looking skis on the girls and letting them jump over the ridiculous little hump that he built back there. That was a blackberry.

“I have remembered for the last few days, over my entire life, so many great moments but one in particular was when we were on vacation up in Vermont where Dad was from. We were at a farm up there. And there were a bunch of cousins and friends, maybe six or seven of us. And dad would just throw us pop-ups out in this open field next to this barn, near the house. You could just do that forever.

“But the other kids would start to lose interest, so six dwindled down to five, four, three and then it was just me and one other guy. We said ‘Dad maybe about 10 steps this time, throw one that I can dive for.’ Then it was just me and him.

“I said, ‘Just one more.’ He knew it wasn’t just the last one. ‘Hey just one more, Dad.’ Asking for just one more throw was just what I’ve been feeling for the past few days. Just one more day. One more hour. One more minute.”

“He had these habits around the house that became blackberries for us, things we’ve laughed about through the years. Any time you were at dinner, it was ‘Chew it up small.’ ‘Dad we’re having soup, c’mon.’ ‘No horseplay.’ ‘No horseplay at the table,’ ‘no horseplay in the car,’ no horseplay that’s any fun.

“’Drive slow.’ That was a big one, especially when we all became drivers. ‘Drive slow.’ He got on my mom once back when the speed limit was 55 because she was going 56. ‘You lead foot.’

“He passed on his rare abilities in household repair to all of us. Mom likes to say he’s the only man in America who’s never been in a Home Depot. My dad’s answer to everything when it came to household repair was a can of 3-in-One oil. And it didn’t matter what the problem was: 3-in-One Oil did the trick. Squeaky hinges? 3-in-oil. Storm damage? 3-in-One oil. He used it on my baseball glove. It was, ‘Here 3-in-One, throw it in there.’ Out of salad dressing? 3-in-One oil.

“I like to call him a sportscaster with a speech impediment. He couldn’t say no. Charity golf tournaments, speaking engagements, you name it, he was there. Mom lost track of all the nights that he was away from the house, away from the kids, speaking. ‘Dad wasn’t here tonight, he was out speaking to a group of dads about spending time with their kids.’

“It didn’t just extend through our family. Dad read about a kid named Ricky Haygood, a long time ago, he was paralyzed with a football injury, and they became lifelong friends. He lived in South Georgia. Nobody brought his attention to it. He read it and fell for it. He had such a heart. And it didn’t matter – we would be on vacation – or he’d be speaking in South Georgia and it was always, ‘Hey, hold on, we’re going to stop by and see Ricky.’ We’d be on our way back from Florida and we’d stop by to see Ricky. The Haygoods made Dad an honorary member of their family. It was that way with Kelly Hayes too in her wheelchair. I remember something dad used to say on the radio, ‘I’m going to say hello to all the shut-ins. I know you can’t get to the ballpark, but we’re thinking about you.’

“He was a constant source of encouragement, so proud of Chris and Dawn as they pursued the teaching profession. I went the less cerebral route, into television. But you know, when he and my mom were coming back from Florida once and I had just started my career in Macon, anchoring the news. They looked at their watches as they were driving up 75, and said ‘Hey, you know what? It’s almost 6 o’clock. If we stop around here somewhere we can watch the 6 o’clock news on Channel 13 in Macon.’

“This is a true story. They pulled in to a hotel down there around Warner Robins or Unadilla or somewhere that got WMAZ. It’s two minutes to 6. They get out of their car, go inside and tell the guy behind the desk ‘We need a room for a half hour.’ I can just picture that clerk saying ‘All right, Ernie!’ He said ‘No, I want to watch the news, really.’

“The greatest thing I’ve ever done or will ever do in my career is working with my dad on SportSouth in the mid 90s. To sit in that booth with a man who is respected by so many, loved by so many fans, it was the greatest thing anybody has ever done for my career. It was a chance to sit shoulder to shoulder with that legend and try not to embarrass him.

“There are so many folks who don’t have that relationship with their dad and I feel for you. I talk to guys who say, ‘I haven’t talked to my dad in years. He and I just don’t see eye-to-eye.’ I never took for granted the blessing it was to have that kind of relationship with my dad. He was the best man in my wedding, my best friend. He simply taught me everything I needed to know about how to work, how to be a dad, how to be a husband. If you gave me 87 years and 63 years married to the same woman, I’d take it.

“There are certain blackberries in my dad’s life – those Marine Corps reunions. He was so proud. And he told us all as kids growing up, ‘I won the war. We were losing when I went in. And when I came out, we had won.’ High school reunions he and mom would go to in Brattleboro. They’d have these parades, and Mom and Dad would be the grand marshal. I’m surprised you haven’t seen it; it was on cable. Those were huge blackberry moments.

“Those vacations in Anna Maria Island, which we took as kids and mom and dad continued to. I’d see them out there in their beach chairs watching the sunset, Dad’s got one hand on a gin and tonic and the other one in my mom’s hand.

“The Wednesday night dinner club; I must have met 500 people yesterday who were in that Wednesday night dinner club. That was a blackberry. The workouts at the rehab center. I tried to hammer home to Dad, ‘Don’t tell me you’re going to rehab. It sounds very old. Tell me you’re going to go work out.’ So he’d say ‘Mom and I are going to go work out.’ One of his buddies actually said yesterday ‘Your dad and I used to pump iron.’

“The chance that he had to work at Enable of Georgia, helping special needs adults lead productive was huge for my dad, huge blackberry for him. For all of us the last few days, there was no greater blackberry than Embracing Hospice. The facility where he spent his last five days, a place that is absolutely staffed 24-7 by angels who know exactly what to say and when to say it. Their care and concern just floors you.

“On behalf of our family, mom Lois, Dawn, Chris, Rebecca, and Eric, Maggie, Michael and Ashley and Carmen and Allison, thank you for being here.

“I don’t know when we’ll see him again, but I know we will. While I don’t know exactly what heaven is going to be like. I hope there’s baseball. And I hope there are blackberries.”

132 comments Add your comment

bulldogbubba

August 17th, 2011
12:14 am

Ambushbug

August 17th, 2011
12:20 am

As someone who lost their father years ago that is absolutely touching.

@DanWeiner

August 17th, 2011
12:21 am

Brilliant stuff, EJ.

Augusta Dawg

August 17th, 2011
12:21 am

Wow!! Great article. Little tear trickling down the cheek.

drbasic1

August 17th, 2011
12:22 am

I’ll be back, when i wipremy eyes…

david

August 17th, 2011
12:24 am

thanks for sharing this dob!

NV 049

August 17th, 2011
12:28 am

God Bless Erine & his family

Brava

August 17th, 2011
12:29 am

Very beautiful and moving.

Thank you for sharing this with us, Carroll.

JoshTown

August 17th, 2011
12:30 am

Amazing eulogy from Ernie Johnson Jr. Thank you so very much for posting this Carroll. RIP Ernie, you gave our team it’s voice. We’ll do you proud.

Jeff

August 17th, 2011
12:33 am

I’m not crying… i just have something in my eye….

Wow… I can’t imagine a more touching eulogy from a son to a father. Great thoughts, EJ… and that’s the world’s biggest understatement. That was truly wonderful to read. I can only hope I’ll have something half as amazing to say for my parents upon their passing…

As for Ernie… he was a true class act. I grew up listening to him, Skip and Pete broadcasting Braves games in the late 70s and early 80s. I loved seeing them on the old TBS… I loved the Braves pullover white home uniforms with the blue script “Braves” on the front… I loved the raggedy field and perfect round circle of old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium… I loved Murphy and Horner and Ramirez and Chambliss and Washington and Butler and Benedict and Perez and Mahler and Camp and Garber and Hubbard and Pocoroba and Royster… and I LOVED hearing Ernie’s great broadcasting voice go up an octave or two as the Braves won a close game. I can imagine his call of Tuesday’s Braves win… Picture his classic delivery…. “Two out…. the crowd on its feet… Conrad leads off third. The wind and delivery… IT’S A HIT TO RIGHT FIELD! PRADO SINGLES AND THE BRAVES BEAT THE GIANTS, AS CONRAD SCORES!” We can only imagine that was the call in heaven tonight….

We’ll miss you Ernie… rest in peace, from all of Braves Country.

admiral

August 17th, 2011
12:35 am

What a wonderful and moving tribute for a great man and a legend. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll make it a point to read and re-ready this whenever I forget what’s really important.

CharlotteBravesFan

August 17th, 2011
12:39 am

Ernie Jr – Thanks for sharing your father with us all of those years. Ernie, Skip, and Pete will forever be the voices of my childhood. Thanks for the memories. Ernie Sr was such a class act.

Jeff

August 17th, 2011
12:39 am

By the way, all Braves fans should check out these videos from ‘the tube’, with Ernie Johnson and also Skip Caray… they are true classics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_QdmRq0WnU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3kyGB9_1qc

Tripp Bowden

August 17th, 2011
12:44 am

My friend, that was a eulogy for the ages. I too loved hearing your dad call the games, and my grandfather…i can see him now. Easy chair kicked all the way out, TV on but sound down. And the radio full blast so he could hear your Pop and ol Skip. Special stuff. Your father touched so many of us, and the cool thing is he knew it. Thanks for posting such a wonderful tribute to a special person. Heart of the Bravos no doubt. Train rolls on. Trippster

Baseball 101

August 17th, 2011
12:48 am

Great job Carroll – you let the story do the talking. EJ2 gets a lot of crap on here. Under the circumstances, this is really powerful stuff coming from him..

Jeff

August 17th, 2011
12:56 am

Well-said, Baseball 101… I always kind of liked Ernie Jr., probably because I really loved and respected his dad… I see a lot of Ernie Sr. in him. EJ has put together quite the broadcasting career over the last 25 years as well… our family’s thoughts and prayers go out to him and all the Johnsons during this time. That was a tremendous tribute to him… very touching.

David O'Brien

August 17th, 2011
1:36 am

David, that was Carroll that transcribed that eulogy after attending the funeral today.

Bill

August 17th, 2011
1:37 am

Oh so true..nothing in the world like a good Dad and Mom. I lost both five years ago but I to remember daily the blackberries, baseball and the I love you ever time we talked on phone are went to store etc.
Enie Jr, I feel your pain..God bless you and your Family..

Mikega1965

August 17th, 2011
2:50 am

Got to love Ernie going to be missed!

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

AK Braves Fan

August 17th, 2011
4:14 am

I’m not crying, my eyes are just a little sweaty today. For your information, there’s an inflammation in my tear gland. I’m not crying, it’s just been raining on my face….

Such a great eulogy. Ernie Johnson, Jr. delivered a really touching piece, and it makes me miss my dad so much.

Dr. Warren

August 17th, 2011
4:29 am

That had to be impossible to make it through with dry eyes, for Ernie Jr. and everyone else.

mike

August 17th, 2011
4:43 am

wow EJ was the same privatetly as publicly a true gentlemen.im choked up there will never be another voice and personality like Ernie.class act indeed

Matt

August 17th, 2011
6:27 am

I am crying like a baby. That was beautiful.

Mark

August 17th, 2011
6:39 am

Touching and emotional, amen.

rfgh

August 17th, 2011
6:49 am

When I was a boy, we would listen to Mr. Johnson and Milo Hamilton do the Braces games on the radio all hot sweltering middle Georgia summer long. A few years later, I was at a game sitting below the broadcasters booth . I looke dup, and Mr Johnson was smiling down at me and waived. Funny how you never forget something like that. With his and Skip’s passing, I know another chapter in my own book of life has been completed. Love the broadcasters we have now, but one always holds the memries of their youth the dearest.

BartmanOrl

August 17th, 2011
6:51 am

What an awesome family! When God handed out hearts, he gave that family an extra large dose. Time to go hug mine.

L. McGowan

August 17th, 2011
6:56 am

A couple of years ago I tried to offer EJ, Jr. encouragement by telling him I had just received a “cancer free” report. He politely thanked me and we moved on. Later, he ran me down in the parking lot to tell me he REALLY appreciated my comments. Now I know it is a “blackberry moment” when you attempt to make someone feel better, but end up receiving more than you give.

Dawged

August 17th, 2011
6:57 am

I grew up enjoying Ernie Sr. on the Braves broadcast along with Skip and” The Proffesser” ..What a great crew.I got to meet Ernie and Skip up close at a Christmas party for a group I was a member of that would hire several Atlanta notables to chat and hobnob with the guest before a meal…Ernie,Sr was just what I had pictured him to be on the radio-warm,friendly and just plain-nice.A few years later I was coaching my son’s baseball team.We were involved with an opening day “demo game” along with other parks around the county.As there were teams from all the other parks it was a rushed event and we scrambled to get there,warm up and do our short stint of a demo game.After our game we watched some of the other teams and noticed ErnieSr. and his son were there.His grandson was on one of the teams from another park participating in the opening day demo.After the games we rushed out to go home and onced we arrived home we noticied we had left a bucket of practice balls that also contained my son Russell’s prized glove.He was devistated over the loss of that glove.We drove the long drive back to the park that was at the opposite end of the county from us to no avail.The bucket of balls and glove was gone.My son cried all the way home.Just as we got back home we recieved a phone call.It was Ernie Johnson Jr.He had found the bucket with the glove sitting in the parking lot.It had my son’s name and phone number on it.He said he knew my son would need his glove and we met him the next day to retreve it.He drove miles out of his way to return it to us. When I met up with him along with my son we thanked him and I said something to him (by then a renowned announcer on his on) what a great announcer his Dad was and how much I admired him.Ernie Jr. just grinned at me and replied-”Yeah he’s my hero as well”-proving the apple don’t fall to far from the tree-What a fine family-the Johnson’s.

ATLfan15

August 17th, 2011
7:27 am

Beautiful and moving tribute…definitely needed a tissue after that.

and I’m sure EJ Sr and Skip are having a good time! :-)

Larry

August 17th, 2011
7:32 am

Heaven is no longer missing and Angel…

bad brad

August 17th, 2011
7:38 am

Well said Ernie Jr, you did your dad proud.

richbrave

August 17th, 2011
7:45 am

Jeff in Orlando

August 17th, 2011
7:55 am

Great stuff. I have enjoyed Jim Powell and Don Sutton talking about Ernie the last few days and love them when they pause for station identification saying the Ernie Johnson Atlanta Braves Radio Network. I read Pete’s book and Ernie was the foundation and glue for the broadcast team. My first exposure to the Braves was listening to WSB on the AM skip at night down in Orange City FL. And one of my favorite calls was Ernie during the brawl game with San Diego in 84 after the Padres threw at Pascual Perez and when tempers began to flare, Ernie’s voice rose and exclaimed – “we’ve got problems here!…we’ve got problems here!” To all those who say Ernie, Pete and Skip were like family – I strongly second that emotion.

Larry

August 17th, 2011
7:58 am

To anyone who doesn’t appreciate the vital importance in the behavioral, psychological and emotional growth, maturity and development of a child–and in this case a boy–of a committed and dedicated, TWO parent home, and the infinite influence a strong father-figure has in a home, please take a moment and read every word above and then sit quietly and meditate a few minutes on the profound value and impact this home environment had on Ernie Johnson, Jr.

Now just think for a moment how such a home, environment and strong, loving father-figure could have made a difference, for example, in the life of such physical talents as a Michael Vick? He would have entered the NFL with the same principles, values and work ethic as his predecessor, Matt Ryan, and we are left only to guess what he could have accomplished before now.

Yes, there are legitimate reasons like physical and/or mental abuse, or unabashed adultery, to surrender a marriage in the best interest of one’s safety of themselves or their children. However, Hollywood has all too sadly influenced us to think that it’s OK to mate with anything and everything and blitz through marriage after marriage just as long as you can afford a to send the mother a check every month. That’s not a marriage; that’s a breeding service!

Thanks. Mr & Mrs Johnson, for setting the standards, hanging in there during the good and not so good times I’m sure, and passing on to your son, his son, and then his son, how to be a real man, a real husband, and a real father. You, more than just any popular and highly compensated athlete or celebrity, are the real hero’s of America…

Yes, indeed, Heaven is no longer missing an Angel!

kudzu

August 17th, 2011
8:03 am

Wish we we had more like the- Johnson family….

Cecil34

August 17th, 2011
8:05 am

RIP Ernie, I won’t forget you.

dean

August 17th, 2011
8:06 am

Oh my.

I’m printing this and putting in my “Open when I die box.”, with the hope my children will pass it on to their children.

Semper Fidelis, Mr. Ernie Johnson, Sr.

Sgt. Donny

bravesgrl4life

August 17th, 2011
8:15 am

Thank you, DOB and Ernie Johnson Jr for sharing this. As another who has lost her dad (15 years ago now), this truly touched me. Ernie was a great man, and his legacy will be forever with the Braves family.

Gotta go fix my makeup now.

padre

August 17th, 2011
8:15 am

i’ve really been into that blackberry patch with my own dad…ernie is there picking berries with my dad, I’ll guarantee you that–and –He’s getting the inside scoop on the broavos from ej.. .I’m blessed by that picture. thanks ejj for a good word well said

huddie ledbetter

August 17th, 2011
8:21 am

Great job Ernie, and Carroll, thank you for taking the time to transcribe. Somehow things like this mean more to many of us whe we read them than they would by watching a video.

mountain_jim

August 17th, 2011
8:28 am

I really appreciated being able to read and share in this eulogy for a man I will miss, by his son who I also admire – thanks Carroll.

how2fish

August 17th, 2011
8:31 am

I moved to Atlanta the year before the Braves did I was 9 years old..the first Braves game I heard on the radio was announced by Ernie Johnson Sr…we have been as a fan based blessed with great announcers, but Ernie was the best. A father, professional, Marine and a Christian gentleman he will be missed and he should also be emulated ! Thanks for sharing !

Old Dawg Fan

August 17th, 2011
8:34 am

Excellent, Sr. and Milo Hamilton were my favorites growing up.
None better!!

Bro

August 17th, 2011
8:36 am

I have always loved blackberries. MY brothers and I picked a bucket full one day. My youngest brother ate them during the night. They were very good no doubt. But, Ernie’s are the very best.
God keep you safe EJ. Thanks.

Rod

August 17th, 2011
8:38 am

As a dad I take to heart EJJ your sharing all those blackberry moments. I can visualize again what always stirs me with my own son is seeing Kevin Costner asking his young dad to play catch in Field of Dreams. I too have those blackberry moments and I cant say enough about how WE all shared in these moments with you and your family as we followed your dad and Braves Baseball. RIP Ernie.

David Olansky

August 17th, 2011
8:39 am

I am so sorry for your loss. My Father died about 4 years ago at 94. We worked together for 20 years and you are right those were the sweetest. Your dad was great and I feel kind of like he raised me too a little. Great man great announcer.

Dawg '88

August 17th, 2011
8:43 am

“And on this winning night….so long Ernie!”

God Bless!

dean

August 17th, 2011
8:49 am

I forgot about this. On the southside, when Browns Mill Golf Course was a wooded area, my Dad and Grandfather would take my brothers and I there during blackberry season. We’d be neck-high in blackberry thorns and Grandpa would ALWAYS ask, “Anybody see a snake yet? Dad would ALWAYS answer with, “Not yet. But they’re in here somewhere.” Damm I miss them.

milford snow

August 17th, 2011
9:02 am

I met Ernie Sr. once when I worked security at Turner Stadium. He was a very classy man. He will be missed.

milford snow

August 17th, 2011
9:02 am

Enter your comments here

joe

August 17th, 2011
9:07 am

Call your Dad today and tell him you love him.

phil

August 17th, 2011
9:40 am

“Right down Peachtree!”

What a great tribute! So many of us loved this man very much, and I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate how open his family has been in sharing so much with us, from memories of this and that to his final days…

May he forever rest in peace. He was absolutely one of my “heroes” growing up and has remained so all of these years.

JR

August 17th, 2011
9:42 am

What a wonderful man. He was truly a gentleman. I remember going to Atlanta Stadium as a boy and my father pointing up to the press box at the big, long net sticking out on a pole. He called it “Ernie’s net” and told me that Ernie caught foul balls with it. I always looked for it from then on and pointed it out to whoever was with me. I have fond memories of Ernie and Milo Hamilton on WSB on summer nights. Later it was Pete and Don and Skip and Ernie. What a crew! Thanks, Ernie, for so many years of enjoyment. We will miss you.

Lewis Grizzard's Ghost

August 17th, 2011
9:45 am

Thanks for sharing this with us … I am deeply moved by his words.

Randy

August 17th, 2011
9:57 am

Ernie Jr,
I’m sure your Dad is in heaven listening to the Angels broadcast their praise to the Heavenly Father!!

CEO

August 17th, 2011
9:58 am

Thanks so much for sharing that, Carroll. As one of thousands who tucked a transistor radio under my pillow at night and listened to Ernie and Milo, I’ll always be a fan. The gentle tones from Ernie raised the standards so that many of us in the South simply can’t tolerate the self-promoting carnival barkers like John Sterling who seemed amateurish and offensive by comparison. Thanks for the memories, Ernie, and a special thanks to Ernie Jr. for sharing your memories in such a classy and touching way.

JD

August 17th, 2011
10:07 am

Beautiful…just beautiful.

Chin's oldest boy

August 17th, 2011
10:08 am

Chin was my Daddy’s nickname. He was a ballplayer and could outrun me when I was a college footballer; he was fifty. Chin was one of those WW II guys; flew fifty missions over Europe out of Northern Africa.

One day when I was home and the local JUCO baseball team where he and I had both played was practicing. We borrowed a couple of gloves and went to the field during batting practice. Chin went to his SS position and in his “old man pants” and wingtips he could still pick ‘em. I was shagging in the outfield.

When batting practice was over and the coach was about to wind up practice, I heard Chin holler, “Hell, Joe ain’t we gonna get our cuts?” I went first. Four swings and lay one down. I might have hit one loud fowl ball but I got the bunt down.
Chin sprayed four solid line drives and then put his bunt down by using his bat like a pool cue. He was having a large time.
Ernie Sr. and Chin will get along just fine.

Danny O

August 17th, 2011
10:09 am

That was a wonderful eulogy for a great man. I’ll never forget how you could always hear the smile in Ernie’s voice.

59bulldawg

August 17th, 2011
10:18 am

What a wonderful eulogy! Ernie, Jr. your father will be greatly missed by us all!

59bulldawg

August 17th, 2011
10:19 am

Danny O you are so right and that’s a great description. You really could!

TheAntiMe

August 17th, 2011
10:30 am

Man, it looks like my eyeballs are pouring sweat again. No really, after all, it is summertime in Georgia and this week my eyeballs just will not stop sweating.

Dawgdad (The Original)

August 17th, 2011
10:31 am

Great job on the Eulogy, EJ. Carrol much thanks to you for posting it for all the folks who wanted to be there but couldn’t.

honest_abe

August 17th, 2011
10:34 am

it’s speeches like these that give you some hope in the world.

Mitchell

August 17th, 2011
10:35 am

Ernie Johnson always seemed to have a youthful spirit.

Kind of a 87 years young. Cliche, I realize.

Just wouldn’t have thought he was so ill. Very sad.

One of my favorites.

J

August 17th, 2011
10:37 am

You remind me of my Dad. We lost a good man.

Fred

August 17th, 2011
10:44 am

Carroll, Thank you so much for sharing the eulogy. I’m a school psychologist at an alternative school for kids who have emotional and behavioral problems, and I printed out the eulogy for my students to read today.

Bob the Blogger

August 17th, 2011
11:00 am

You could tell Ernie Johnson was a nice and decent man just by the way he talked and the tone of his voice. It sounds like he led a very good and fruitful life – I guess that’s the best any of us can hope for.

DamntheButcher

August 17th, 2011
11:03 am

This may be the first blog ever where all the post are positive and well deserved.

George P Burdell

August 17th, 2011
11:06 am

Wow- I am crying like a little girl.

Thanks for sharing.

My favorite Braves moment was not when Sid slid, it was when EJ showed up to surprise him and call Ernie Sr’s. last inning of baseball with him. Ernie was so overcome with emotion he could barely talk. The way those two looked at each other was a blackberry that will last me forever.

Thanks for sharing your Dad with us EJ. You have blessed more lives than you will ever know.

@digitalman959

August 17th, 2011
11:08 am

It is so true that we all get caught up in the game. Certainly this is the kind of legacy we all aspire to achieve. Thanks Ernire Sr. for being such a great model and Ernie Jr. for sharing such a great life lesson and for remind us to look beyond the fence.

Too Tough

August 17th, 2011
11:14 am

I remember many times hearing Ernie say “We’re down to cases folks! I never really knew what that meant except if the Braves didnt score in the 9th we were done! He and Milo Hamilton. I used to listen to the radio eatn graham crackers and ice water lol…! God Bless Ernie and his family!
Thanks for being the Braves announcer, teammate, friend..and we always knew he was pullin for the Braves… THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

George Holman

August 17th, 2011
11:18 am

Wow! Thanks!

oldmike

August 17th, 2011
11:23 am

Wonderful eulogy for a wonderful man. I remember seeing him and talking with him at the Roswell Civic Center at Georgia Ensemble Theater plays. He was so approachable. So down to earth. You could see in his eyes how genuine he was. And, I love watching EJ Jr on TNT with Charles and Kenny. You can’t fake the bond they seem to share. He was taught well by his Dad. Let’s all take a few minutes to tell our Dads how much they mean to us if we haven’t in a while. You can never say it enough. And once they are gone, never again. Rest in Peace to EJ Sr. and I hope his family finds peace in their lives without this great man.

edddvm in Macon

August 17th, 2011
11:27 am

What a touching tribute to a great man. I will always cherish the memory of having him as the first Braves announcer I remember and how much he loved his job and the Braves.

Tim Langan

August 17th, 2011
11:34 am

Watching the Braves on WTBS and keeping score (either at the game or at home) was a right of passage of my youth. Ernie, Pete, and Skip will forever be my voices of summer. My family got to know Ernie a bit at St Thomas Aquinas in Alpharetta over the years. He was as nice in person as he seemed on the air.

One night, my Dad had lucked into a seat in a booth/box at Fulton County Stadium above home plate with friends. A foul ball was headed his way until Ernie got out his net in the broadcast both next door and nabbed it! In our house, it was always better story that it happened that way, because it was Ernie & his net!

Wonderful tribute EJ. RIP Ernie.

Mike C.

August 17th, 2011
11:37 am

A few years ago, one of Ernie’s daughters started a campaign to get him named the Ford Frick winner and thus in the Hall of Fame. She set up a website for folks to post their memories of Ernie and there were hundreds of postings. Also, she asked everyone to write letters to the election committee members. The only one I can remember is Joe Morgan. I wrote the letters and I expect that a lot of others did too. However, Ernie was not selected. No disrespect to the past winners of this award, but none of them could have done more, and meant more, to a franchise than Ernie Johnson. He played for the team, set up a vast radio network in the Southeast, broadcast the games on a superstation and was the best ambassador that a team could ask for. He shoould be honored! How can we make this happen?

CC

August 17th, 2011
11:39 am

A fine gentleman and a most appropriate tribute. RIP Ernie, Sr.

Gwinnett Fred

August 17th, 2011
11:48 am

Pretty obvious that the Johnson family was very close knit with values that last a lifetime. To see it passed down from generation to generation is a wonderful thing to see.

A wonderful eulogy and a fitting farewell to Ernie Sr. – one great human being that added so much color to so many lives, and not all via Braves games.

O'flarity's water bottle

August 17th, 2011
12:07 pm

I am born and raised here. I will be 41 this month. Ernie Sr. would be on as an annoucer for one of the games. He would almost always tell a story. I wuld like to send best wishes and prayers to the johnson familly. I had lost my father in 08, in a accident. Time always heals and be strong.

smithyred

August 17th, 2011
12:10 pm

Ernie,Jr. — Thank you for allowing us to read that tribute. Great!!!
I use to listen to your dad and Skip when they were broadcasting and now they are together for life. I know you will see you dad again, my dad died at the age of 80 a few years ago and still miss him. Best to you and your family during this time.

Ted Abernathy

August 17th, 2011
12:11 pm

Well done Ernie.

rammerjammer

August 17th, 2011
12:22 pm

I remember his “shut-ins” remarks; you could tell he had a heart for seniors and folks who were dealing with difficulties.

And that soft-spoken, corny humor. Can’t tell you the number of times I heard Milo say, during a particularly wild game, “my scorecard looks like a chicken walked across it.” And then Ernie would make a chicken “squawk” in the background.

Smiling now just thinking back to those times.

Carroll, thanks so much for recognizing the moment and taking the time to bring those words to print.

savannahdawg

August 17th, 2011
12:45 pm

Very nice. Thank you for sharing with us. I lost my dad two years ago………..damn I miss him!

Skeezix

August 17th, 2011
12:58 pm

Dave: Ernie Jr.’s eulogy for his Dad is one of life’s blackberries. Thanks for sharing.

woman in the throes

August 17th, 2011
1:16 pm

You know a lot of us don’t realize that Ernie was an intense competitor when he played in the majors. I remember reading an article about him once and the only reason I remembered was because it was so contrary to the man I knew from listening to his broadcasts. Ernie threw a pitch behind the head of Ted Kluszewski, a huge but extremely gentle man. Klu’s teammates said it was the only time they saw him get angry. On the next pitch he laid down a bunt to first causing Ernie to have to cover and he spiked Ernie’s foot when he crossed the base. Ernie got mad and started to retaliate but realized quickly he was over matched as Klu was twice his size so he limped back to the mound. RIP Ernie and thanks Carroll for taking the time to put it down on paper (or CRT) for us.

Jay

August 17th, 2011
1:18 pm

This has made me immediately get in touch with my dad. Thanks for sharing.

beachcomber

August 17th, 2011
1:20 pm

Thank you AJC for printing this tribute to a wonderful man.

bravesfan54

August 17th, 2011
1:21 pm

If I’d known I would shed tears today for this marvelous man, I would have saved my ‘54 Ernie Braves card. (You could always tell the ‘54 series, the cards “framed” the players in a TV set motif. I got Ernie’s card probably in ‘57 or ‘58. My entire collection (which included 2 ‘51 Boston Braves cards Eddie Mathews and Ebba St.Clair and 1954 St. Louis Browns Satchell Paige)was lost in a move from Columbus, Georgia.

I will miss Ernie.

Mark's for the Braves

August 17th, 2011
1:30 pm

Ernie Jr.–you have my deepest condolences. Ernie was THE voice of the Braves and obviously a great man. Always reminded me of my grandfather with his calm demeanour and caring ways.

Ron Sayles

August 17th, 2011
1:58 pm

I met Ernie while he was playing for the Milwaukee Braves. He was guest speaker at a banquet my wife and I attended. He was so gracious. He had a question and answer period at the end of his presentation which lasted twice as long as his speech. He stayed and answered each and every question. When he left for Atlanta, we were very sad, not just because we we were losing the Braves, but because we were losing Ernie Johnson.

KYBravos' fan

August 17th, 2011
2:02 pm

I listened to Ernie Sr. for years and knew he was a great human being–just by the way he conducted himself on the air. Although I did not know him, I felt like did. He was the epitome of a fine American, father, husband, and friend. His was a life well-lived, because he left his mark by helping make others better people. God blessed us all when he gave us Ernie. Thank you, Ernie Jr., for those wonderful reflections of your dad.

Sid

August 17th, 2011
2:20 pm

Great job Ernie Johnson Jr, you learned a great deal from your Dad. And you listened. And you had a chance to say Good Bye.

Tuckerboy

August 17th, 2011
2:27 pm

Great Tribute to Ernie Sr and I am sure there was not a dry eye in the place. As a Dad that just had two boys recently age out of Murphey Candler, those blackberries are still there! We will honor the memory of Ernie Sr. by spreading those blackberries just as he did!

Kevin

August 17th, 2011
2:35 pm

Bravo. Well done.

Braves Fan Since 1966

August 17th, 2011
2:55 pm

Great dad,,,great son and great family. What a legacy Ernie Sr. left behind.

Blackberry Cobbler

August 17th, 2011
2:55 pm

Reading this eulogy has really made my day.

It’s time like this that every man out there should look at their life and those around them and think about what’s really important.

It sounds like Ernie Sr. never missed a chance to make a difference in the lives of his family and others whom he met.

When each of our time comes, we should all hope our family and others can say about us what has so elegantly been said about Ernie Johnson, Sr. Because, in the end, what we live behind is all that matters.

Jerry

August 17th, 2011
2:58 pm

My favorite Ernie quip was during a game in San Francisco, probably in the early seventies. It was a radio broadcast and a commotion could be heard in the background. Milo Hamilton said “We’re having some extra curricular activity here below us” and Ernie responded, “Yea, they’re having a fight, too”.

modrod

August 17th, 2011
3:06 pm

We moved to Atlanta in 1969. Back then I was a 6 old boy just learning about baseball I have many fond memories of Ernie on the radio. I learned that “all roads lead to Atlanta in the summertime”. Also, no matter how bad the Braves were losing, and back then, it was alot. When the bottom of the ninth rolled around, it was “time to go get’em Braves”. Listening to Ernie on the radio was comfort indeed.
What a wonderful eulogy by Ernie Jr. I have had the pleasure to meet him a few times out in public as his son attended the same high school as my daughter. Trust me, the apple did not fall far from the tree. He is the most gracious unassuming guy you would want to meet. It pains me to think of their families loss.
Reading this makes me appreciate my father even more and makes me want to spread some blackberries to my son. Who shares my love of baseball as well.

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