Jack is back in Glen Rose, and he wants to serve the needs of seasoned citizens.
He’s 68-year-old Jack Johnson, the newest member of the Glen Rose City Council. Johnson was born in Glen Rose, but moved away with his family when he was six years old.
He continued to visit his grandmother in Glen Rose each summer up until he began to have regular summer jobs starting at about age 12. Summer vacations also brought the family back here many times over the years.
“I like to tell people that whoever says you can never go back home again, is not from Glen Rose because it’s always felt like home to me because I spent my summers here,” said Johnson, a former professional musician who moved back here five years ago as a retiree. “Even though work has literally taken me all over the world, Glen Rose has always felt like home. It has a certain charm and quality to it. It has a good balance of tradition, of traditional values that I really like and support.”
His primary job now is with the Somervell County Committee on Aging, where he has served the past two years. His first duty there was as a driver for the senior citizens. Now he’s the data security official there along with helping seniors with various needs that come along. He is also in charge of the center’s social media posts, and of all the private intake data for submission to the county. When needed, he fills in as a driver.
“I do a little bit of everything, really,” said Johnson, who was appointed over two other candidates to fill an open position on the at-large Glen Rose City Council on May 13.
He uses his musical talent as part of the Gospel music that the seniors enjoy at the center on the third Monday of each month.
LIFE AND DEATH ISSUES
An incident a couple of years ago, when Johnson was delivering meals for the center, dramatically demonstrated the importance of having a connection with at-risk elderly residents.
When he arrived at a home to deliver one of the meals, the woman didn’t come to the door or answer her phone. When Johnson checked the perimeter of the home, he found her on the ground in the backyard. She had passed out, suffering from heat stroke. Fortunately she was revived by paramedics when Johnson called them to the scene.
That close call shows how those who deliver meals to seniors can and do save lives, serving as a first line of defense.
“That’s what I'm bringing to the City Council is I’m an advocate for the seniors in Somervell County,” Johnson said. “They are in dire need of housing and services. We offer services here at the center. We offer hot meals for them, we offer transportation services.
“When I was asked to serve on the City Council, I made it very clear that what I wanted to do was to be an advocate for the seniors and disenfranchised in this community. We definitely need affordable housing and good apartments for these people that are on Social Security. My work at the center and my work at the City council go hand in had to accomplish those goals.”
Johnson said he wants to see more business opportunities for the people of Glen Rose, while maintaining the right balance.
“I also want to preserve the tradition and the history of Glen Rose,” Johnson said. “There’s a balance between growth and tradition. That’s what we’re trying to do in Glen Rose.”
ROCK AND QUAKES
Johnson is retired from a 20-year career as an earthquake engineer. He worked in northern California and Utah, as well as in locations on the East Coast and even overseas in Saudi Arabia.
“Prior to that I was a recording artist for ABC Records for about seven years,” said Johnson, who played guitar, bass and drums and had several country-rock albums to his credit, playing a style he compares to that of the classic rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. “I began playing professionally at the age of 12.”
Johnson played instruments during studio session work for other musical artists, and also toured nationally in the 1970s with a country-rock group called Navasota. He studied music theory, taught guitar, and for five years was a Grammy Awards voting member. He stopped touring at age 27, then used the knowledge he gained while attending the University of Houston, majoring in engineering, as an earthquake engineer.
Johnson retired from the difficult life of being a professional touring musician because he wanted to go in a different direction.
“Music’s a tough life and I wanted to have a family,” he said. “I began doing session work and built a recording studio. That way I could enjoy my music and be at home at the same time.”
Johnson went into audio and video production in California until he retired. Now, he most enjoys playing upright bass with a keyboardist and a pianist in worship services at Paluxy Baptist Church. His first public performance, at age 12, was a rendition of the classic hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross.”
“My first love is Gospel music, always has been,” Johnson said. “What music means to me today, it’s about the message. That’s why I really enjoy doing Gospel music. I’ve always felt that music was a God-given gift, and that any gift that God gives us, we should use it. He gives us these gifts for a reason. I feel it is a gift, just like the songs that I write.”
Johnson’s first experience as a public servant was in California, when he was president of a local neighborhood association. He was also a certified member and leader of a community emergency response and triage team in the San Mateo area. Recently, he became re-certified in first aid.
Johnson has two daughters. One lives in California, and the other is planning to move to Glen Rose in August.
He owns and operates a 16-track recording studio, Glen Rose Recording Service. His latest work there was with Charlie Day and Anji Pearl Day of Pearl and the Polka Dots.