Horace Mann (“Jay”) Johnson, Jr. 78, of Burlington, NC, passed away peacefully at his home on March 16, 2023. He was born to the late Horace Mann and Ruth Groesbeck Johnson and is survived by his loving wife, Karen Wagner Johnson and their children Horace (“JJ”) Mann Johnson III, of Burlington, N.C., David Dwight Johnson (Liz) of Greensboro, N.C. and Daniel Wagner Johnson (Tiffany) of Burlington, N.C. He dearly loved and is survived by his grandchildren Horace (“Quade”) Mann Johnson IV, Conner Lee Mabry, Ally Elizabeth Mabry, Smith Alexander Johnson, Ethan Jay Johnson, Eleanor (“Ellie”) Ruth Johnson, Henry Clayton Johnson, and Alexander Lee Johnson. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Sharon Wagner Brown and Florinda Childers “FC” Johnson and brother-in-law, Mick Boyd Brown and many cherished nephews and nieces and their children. Jay was preceded in death by his father, Horace Mann Johnson, his mother Ruth Groesbeck Johnson, and brother Edward G. Johnson.
Jay was born in Raleigh N.C. and lived in Durham NC until attending East Carolina University (“ECU”) where he was a member and ultimately the President of the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. Jay earned both his BS and MBA degrees while at ECU and met the love of his life, Karen. Following graduate school, Jay and Karen moved to New York City, NY where Jay began his career in Reinsurance with Pritchard and Baird. Subsequently, Jay and Karen lived in Bren Mawr, PA where they welcomed their first son, JJ, before eventually moving to Burlington, NC for Jay to co-lead the Reinsurance arm of the Penn General Companies. In 1973, Jay founded Reinsurance Intermediaries Inc. (“R/I Inc.”) and welcomed their second son, David, and shortly thereafter Daniel. The Reinsurance industry blossomed in the Burlington area under Jay’s stewardship and became one of the major hubs for Reinsurance talent in the country. In 2001, Jay went on to create Axiom Re which grew to be the 6th largest Reinsurance broker in the United States. Outside of the Reinsurance business and throughout his life, Jay was a serial entrepreneur directly founding or investing in many pursuits that fulfilled his never-ending passions. While an extremely kind and modest man, Jay loved to live his life to its fullest and was always larger than life with everyone and everything he touched in his path. He enjoyed trips with his family, boating, golfing with friends, classic cars, and always a great sunset. He will be missed greatly by his friends and family.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on March 19, 2023, at 2:30 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington. The family will receive friends following the service at Alamance Country Club. Memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 508 West Davis Street, Burlington NC 27215 or to Hospice of Burlington, N.C.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Horace Mann (“Jay”) Johnson, Jr., please visit our floral store.