Born in Commerce, Georgia, George Johnny Childs hailed from hardscrabble beginnings and appreciated all the simple joys life had to offer. From an early age, he knew that he would have to work for what he wanted. He counted himself as fortunate to have learned life lessons from his hardworking parents. They taught him and his three siblings to love and respect each other, as well as to love and serve their community.
Johnny began serving his community as a volunteer fireman in 1996, after seeing the joy and fulfillment his son, Robert, got from his service. This was the beginning of a lifelong bond of shared service between father and son. Johnny realized the love of a second family in his brotherhood of firefighters. He ended every evening by checking in with the station, usually while en route to his local Kroger grocery store. Every call ended in true Johnny style. “I love ya, man. Y’all be safe out there.”
He was a devoted family man to his wife, Judy; his sons, Chris, Robert, and Jeff; his seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and, of course, his mom, Reba. He and Reba spent almost every evening rocking on her front porch, watching the birds. There were daily phone calls to his boys and grandkids, if only to see how their day was going or to share with them some funny event he had witnessed during his day. Without fail, he always, always, always made sure to tell them he loved them. When you were loved by Johnny Childs, he made sure you knew it. After losing his oldest son, Chris, in 1995, Johnny learned to hold his family close and cherish every minute with them.
A simple man at heart, you always knew exactly where you stood with Johnny Childs. He stood for what he believed in and never wavered in his strength of character and steadfast loyalty. If he called you his friend, he meant it and would be there when you needed him. He never met a stranger. Johnny was the kind of man that would check on people, even if their encounter had been brief, just to make sure they were okay. There is a large hole left in this town that will never be filled. There will always be a place in our hearts for this simple man who loved and served with such sincerity and selflessness.