The Story of Graham Johnson

The Graham Johnson Cultural Arts Endowment was formed in memory of and to honor the life of Graham Patrick Johnson. Graham was a student at Franklin Academy in Wake Forest, North Carolina and a very special person. His life and how he lived it, and his love of the arts are the inspiration for this organization.



For his 10th birthday Graham asked for a rice cooker so he could create sushi for his family, teachers and classmates. He would meticuously roll his rice with any variety of tuna, meats etc. flavored with herbs he had grown. His afternoons after school would be spent volunteering to help his friend, Jennifer, in her garden shop and he would work for a plant which she would give to him and describe the attributes of that plant. He nurtured his topiaries, bonsais, and other plants.

Graham played tuba for his band, loved music, and also delighted in caring for his plants, especially herbs which he grew, cooked with, and created crafts with. He also developed a love for poetry and for his 13th birthday asked only for a book, an anthology of poetry. Graham had a reputaion for being friends with everyone he met and had friends of all ages, colors and interests.
One of Graham's most favorite activities was to help his family hosting the annual "HerbFest" in historic downtown Wake Forest at "Festival Park". He loved to carry the herbs to the cars of the customer, talking as he went about the attributes of the herbs purchased and how to grow and harvest them. His pride gleaned when he told folks his Mom had a gift certificate for them to The Cotton Company. This was his hidden unexpected gift he would give them as a "surprise" for shopping at HerbFest. He also loved to sit with his grandfather, and his "Uncle Rock" and work the check out counter as the customers checked out their purchases, competing with them on who could make the calculations in their head the fastest. In his memory, his family, classmates, the administration of Franklin Academy and his community friends created this endowment to enrich the lives of the members of our community through the enjoyment of cultural and performing arts. To this end we are dedicated in our collective efforts.

Graham was 15 years old when his life ended on Jan. 17, 2006. This site and the GJCAE foundation was established to foster the belief that "Life is For The Living" in his memory.