Remembering Bob Johnson’s 22-year legacy managing the Bay County Fairgrounds

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 9:08 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Many remember the Bay County Fairgrounds for the Central Panhandle Fair, before being relocated after Hurricane Michael. Now Tuesday, we remember the notable name behind the magic of the fairgrounds.

“He started at the fairgrounds, well he was there before that, but he started full time as fair manager when he was 62,” Bob Johnson’s son Paul Johnson said.

For the next 22 years, Bob Johnson brought the manager magic to the Bay County Fairgrounds.

“He loved the fairgrounds and doing all that stuff out there,” said Paul.

Bob loved the fair and the community it served, even after he retired in March.

“He was a guy that gave everything to everybody else and expected nothing in return,” said Paul.

Paul said Bob continued to give to the community until he was hospitalized nearly 30 days ago.

“He got sick. He got an infection and his body just couldn’t recover from it. He was in ICU for a week, and then he went to a critical illness hospital inside there,” said Paul.

Bob remained there until he passed away Monday evening at the age of 84.

“We all feel loss. I mean, he was my Dad for my whole life, so what do you expect? Just loss, great loss,” said Paul.

But it’s a loss that won’t go unforgotten in the community Bob loved so much.

“He loved everybody. He never met a stranger. He loved doing for people all over and if anybody knew him, he did something for them. He was a good guy and they all know that. Everybody that’s called me has said he’s a great man, and he is,” said Paul.

Bob’s love, giving spirit, and commitment to the community is what Paul said Bob should be remembered for.

“He loved living here, he loved living in Florida because he came from up north, but he loved living here in Bay County,” said Paul.

Before being fairgrounds manager, Paul said Bob was in the Air Force for 25 years and coached baseball and basketball locally in the 1960′s. As for what happens next at the Bay County Fairgrounds, Paul said it will be different, but the fair board will prevail.

The Johnson family has set up a GoFundMe for donations to Bob’s funeral expenses.

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