Polk County Public Schools is mourning the loss of Ulysses J. “UJ” Johnson III, a beloved educator and valued member of our community.
Johnson died at home in Winter Haven on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. He was 91.
A native of Winter Haven’s Florence Villa community, Johnson graduated from Jewett Junior-Senior High in 1947 and later received his first teaching assignment at Rochelle Junior-Senior High.
After being drafted into the U.S. Army and serving in the Korean War, he returned to Rochelle as coordinator of the school’s science program, line coach for the football team and head track and field coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. He also became the first guidance counselor at Rochelle.
Johnson would then go on to Polk Community College (now Polk State College), where he worked as a guidance counselor and ultimately headed the college’s guidance department.
Among his many community honors and distinctions, Johnson was recognized as the historian of Florence Villa by the Jewett Alumni Association. He published a book about the history of Florence Villa in 2010.
In 2013, Rochelle — now known as Rochelle School of the Arts — renamed its track and field in honor of Johnson. Approximately 200 people attended the ceremony.
Arrangements are being handled by James C. Boyd Funeral Home in Winter Haven.