County mourns loss of beloved ‘EBJ’

Published 7:34 pm Friday, April 22, 2011

E.B. Johnson plays with a balloon while sitting in her mother Marla's lap during the Playing and Praying for EBJ Benefit Concert on Friday, May 21, 2010, in Troy, Ala. Four year old E.B. passed away early Friday, April 22, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Sadness engulfed Pike County Good Friday morning as the word spread that EB Johnson’s battle with cancer was over.

Four-year-old EBJ had a spirit that touched thousands of lives during her struggle with cancer and that spirit will continue in the hearts and lives of all who knew her, said the Rev. David Zorn, pastor of Goshen Baptist Church.

“EB had such a wonderful spirit about her,” Zorn said. “I saw that spirit in her the first time I saw her and that’s what I’ll remember most about her. Everyone could feel her wonderful spirit. Just before she was diagnosed with cancer, she won her age division in a local pageant. She had a special spirit about her and it was evident then as it was when she started mending from the cancer.

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“And in the last months, her spirit was still shining through. She had a good sense of humor and would pick at folks in her own little way – in EB’s way.”

EB’s struggle with cancer brought people together in a way that changed lives, Zorn said.

“Everywhere you went in Pike County and beyond, there were signs expressing love for EB. She was loved by a bunch of folks and shown love by so many.”

Zorn said EB will be remembered as a beautiful little girl with a big smile.

“I visited the schools in Goshen Friday and the students wanted to talk about EB,” Zorn said. “EB brought the students at both schools closer together. They all expressed love and concern for her. It’s the amazing the influence that one little girl could have on so many. Not just the students but the entire community.”

Zorn said through EB’s struggle God was working in the lives of many.

“She also brought her family into a closer relationship with Christ,” he said. “What a wonderful testimony that is for a little girl to bring others to Christ. What a blessing she has been.”

Mike Thomas, a friend of the family, said from a human standpoint, it was impossible not to want to keep EB.

“But today she is in paradise,” Thomas said. “She knows no more suffering and pain. But, I understand how her parents held to hope until the last breath was gone. EB was blessed with a good family. They were there with her every minute. And she pulled the community together in a special way. She had a lot of extended family and she was very loved. We will all miss her but today, the Good Lord received another precious little angel.”