Articles

Johnny Fred Daughtery championed improvements for city of Lithonia

LITHONIA—Johnny Fred Daughtery was a fixture at Lithonia City Hall. 

Mr. Daughtery made it his business to follow what was going on in the city, diligently standing sentinel over the City Council.

Nicknamed “The Mayor,” he earned a reputation for speaking out for Lithonia’s residents.

Mr. Daughtery died on Dec. 4 of a massive heart attack. He was 75. His wife of 42 years, Annie Cora Daughtery, said he had battled diabetes for years, losing both legs to the disease. He became ill after Thanksgiving and grew worse over several days, requiring hospitalization, Mrs. Daughtery said.

As a double amputee, Mr. Daughtery had to adapt to a new way of life, including using a wheelchair.

A former self-employed brick mason and DeKalb County school bus driver, he found it tough to lose his independence at first, his wife said. He found a new purpose and passion, however, when he got involved with various civic projects, working closely with longtime resident Barbara Woods-Lester.

“Johnny was faithful until the end. He will be missed at City Council meetings, at the Friends of the African American Cemetery, CHASE meetings, and the list goes on and on. Johnny was a man among men and we will truly miss him,” Ms. Lester wrote in the digital guest book of Brown and Young Funeral Home, which handled Mr. Daughtery’s funeral services. Mr. Daughtery’s funeral was held Dec. 10 at Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church, where he was a long-time member. His oldest son, Bishop Ronald Daughtery of Word International Church in Decatur, served as the eulogist.

Mr. Daughtery attended Bruce Street School in Lithonia. He joined the U.S. Army and received an honorable discharge in 1959.

He married Annie Cora Daughtery on Dec. 27, 1970, and they raised their family in Lithonia.

Mrs. Daughtery said after her husband became disabled from complications due to diabetes later in life, he looked forward to City Council meetings.

He was an outspoken critic who didn’t mind telling off City officials. But he would just as easily chuckle when he was happy about something.

Mrs. Daughtery often accompanied him to meetings, where he would sit near the Council.

Said Mrs. Daughtery:  “I had to get him in the car and we would park in the back because there was no handicapped spaces in the front of the building. He would raise sand at the meetings about all kinds of things. And I would say, ‘Why don’t you raise sand about getting a handicapped parking space?”

Mrs. Daughtery said her husband spent time on the weekends helping to restore the African American Cemetery on Bruce Street—another one of his passions.

Those who knew the contributions that he made said he will be missed.

“He really made an impact on the community,” said Sandi Morris. “He will surely be missed.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Daughtery is survived by his sons, Bishop Ronald Daughtery (Cheryl); Carty Daughtery (LaKeisha); Rodney Winston; Vincent Hamm (Ebony); and Aquino Daughtery; one daughter, Valerie Jackson (Gary); one sister, Ada Gaither; one brother, Rickey Daughtery; 15 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.