Bruce Johnson was known in his nursing home for kindness and generosity.

If his brothers took him out to dinner and then to buy snacks for later, Mr. Johnson would buy more for other patients and staff members.

He had been a straight-A student until junior year of high school, when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, said an older brother.

“It was crushing for my mother,” Douglas Johnson said.

Born in 1959 in Levittown, Mr. Johnson was the son of Ann Bolles and Harry K. Adcock. Adcock died in 1960, leaving his widow with four boys under the age of 6.

She then married Nils Johnson, owner of Johnson General Store in Florence. He adopted her sons, and they added a fifth.

Mr. Johnson, 60, died Saturday, April 25, of the coronavirus at Crystal Lake Healthcare in Bayville, N.J., where he had lived for 13 years.

He graduated from Florence Township Memorial High School and attended Burlington County College.

“He was a bookworm and shy,” his brother said. “He loved doing puzzles. He was very smart. All the teachers loved him.”

Mr. Johnson was happy working in the general store. “He knew everyone in town because everyone came into the store,” Douglas said. People came to buy coffee, newspapers, greetings cards, or a gallon of milk. At that time, there were no convenience stores in Florence, which is near the Delaware River between Burlington and Trenton.

Mr. Johnson, shown here with long-time family friend Marie Power-Barnes, was a bookworm and a favorite of his high school teachers.
Courtesy Johnson Family
Mr. Johnson, shown here with long-time family friend Marie Power-Barnes, was a bookworm and a favorite of his high school teachers.

Since he was a boy, Mr. Johnson loved spending weeks at Long Beach Island. As an adult, he enjoyed playing cards and bingo, and telling jokes.

He once thought he would take over his parents’ store. But during a Shore visit in 1995, he fell from a second-story porch and suffered a traumatic brain injury. After rehabilitation, he lived in a number of group homes before moving to Crystal Lake, where he loved the nursing staff.

“He knew everyone’s birthday on the staff and some of the patients',” his brother said. He made sure to buy them birthday cards.

“He had a difficult life, but Bruce never let anything get him down,” Douglas said. “He persevered and rallied through all his problems.”

In addition to his brother, Mr. Johnson is survived by brothers Don, Brian, and Jay and other relatives.

Valerie Russ, vruss@inquirer.com