Cover photo for Johnnie Clarkson's Obituary
Johnnie Clarkson Profile Photo
1943 Johnnie 2023

Johnnie Clarkson

January 7, 1943 — December 18, 2023



Johnnie Clarkson was born on January 7, 1943 to the late Johnnie Lee and Burnett Clarkson in Philadelphia. John was the second of twelve children, six brothers and six sisters. John was educated in the Philadelphia School System. In 1962, John met and married Norma Gaines. He has three daughters, Carmen, Colleen and Carla. He has one son Sean. He has two grandsons, Kristian and Justin, two granddaughters, Elena and Jordyn. He has one great-granddaughter, Annabel.


Johnnie Clarkson's early life was rooted in South Philadelphia, where he experienced the lasting dynamics of a large close-knit family. His upbringing, combined with his educational experiences and the early bonds formed in his marriage, shaped the man who would go on to leave a lasting legacy through his faith, family, ministry, and service to others.

Johnnie graduated from Bok Technical Vocational High School in 1964 and at 21, he earned his diploma in Business Administration from Adelphia Business School. His commitment to learning continued with a Certificate of Ordination in 1978, a Bachelor of Science degree from Geneva College in 1991, and a Masters of Divinity from American University in 1995. He also achieved professional certification in Urban Outreach Ministries from the Center for Urban Theological Studies.


Salvation was paramount to Johnnie's life as he never missed an opportunity to bring a soul to Christ. John received salvation from Bishop Alden A. Gaines of Consolation Baptist Church in South Philadelphia where he served as a deacon, then associate pastor before going on to be the founder of his own church. Johnnie's also preached at a number of churches across the city of Philadelphia and even was a member of the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia where he gleaned from the tutelage of Bishop C. Milton Grannum.

A dedicated servant of God, Johnnie's established outdoor evangelism, drug and alcohol prevention support groups, prison ministries, and community-based Bible study groups. Well known for his street ministry, it wasn't uncommon to see Johnnie pulling up his pick up truck with a bullhor on street corners spreading the gospel that Jesus saves. For 21 years, he faithfully preached, pastored and counseled at Rapture Missionary Baptist Church in Southwest Philadelphia, retiring in 2000.


In addition to ministry, Johnnie possessed a strong business say, partnering with his sister Colleen to establish Little Feet and Watch Us Grow Daycare Center in Southwest Philadelphia. He also served as a Philadelphia school teacher, imparting knowledge to students in building maintenance and special education. Even after retirement, he returned to work in security until his health declined.


Johnnie's love for life extended beyond his professional endeavors. He enjoyed spending time outdoors. Walking, running, camping, bike rides, riding roller coasters, exercise, fishing, roller skating, long days at the beach and spending days at the movie theater were his favorite pastimes. He found solace in cross-country drives in his van, exploring destinations such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Disney World, Las Vegas, Assateague Island, the Appalachian Mountains, Mt. Rushmore, and beyond. He also loved cooking and was famous for carving the turkey at Thanksgiving and his signature pot of collard greens. It was at these dinners with family where John would be playfully reminded of his childhood nickname


In addition to his legacy (mentioned above) Johnnie Clarkson's siblings "the tribe of twelve" mourns the loss of a beloved brother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. While Burnett Clarkson Jr. has preceded him in death, his memory lives on in the hearts of those Who knew and loved him. He leaves to mourn his legacy: Bernadine B. Clarkson, Amelia Rose, Frederick, Douglas, Sarah Ramona, Bonita, Colleen, Douglas, Christopher, Carol Burnett and Gerald. A host of nieces, nephews, friends and co-laborers in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In honoring John's memory, let us celebrate a life devoted to faith, family, education, and service to others. May he find eternal peace in the embrace of our Lord Jesus Christ. His memory lives on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, December 23, 2023

9:00 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Mt Moriah Temple Baptist Church

410 Wharton St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, December 23, 2023

10:30am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Mt Moriah Temple Baptist Church

410 Wharton St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

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Graveside Service

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

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