He was the former camp and photographer director for Don King
Dwight Joseph Johnson, who served as the director of Don King Training Camp and Photography for more than 20 years, succumbed from multiple health complications on April 25 at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center with his doting family by his bedside. He was 72.
“This is a tremendous blow to all of us. He was a member of my family and dearly loved by wife Henrietta and I. My condolences are with his wife Brenda and their children during this most difficult time,” stated Don King.
Johnson’s wife of 50 years, Brenda who like her husband is long time family friends of the Kings’ says she will remember everything about the man she cared for immensely.
“I will remember everything about him. There isn’t one specific thing. We cared deeply for each other,” Brenda explained to the Call & Post. “Don and Henrietta have always been beyond family. Dwight would get on a plane just to go get Henrietta in Florida and fly back with her and when she was in New York. She was the reason for the move to Orwell. He loved her and she loved him.”
Brenda credits the King family for the Johnson family move to Orwell, Ohio where Dwight became the first African American councilmember. He had two years remaining on his term.
During his years with King, Dwight was responsible for The King Training Camp in Orwell, which served as the housing and training ground for Don King Productions (DKP) world-class fighters.
His first assignment with DKP as a photographer was history making ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ in Kinshasa, Zaire on October 30, 1974, that pitted the undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman against challenger Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight champion.
Dwight was also the photographer when Roberto Duran won the WBC welterweight title by defeating Sugar Ray Leonard by unanimous decision in 15 hard-fought rounds at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal on June 20, 1980.
Additionally he served as the photographer of many of DKP’s champion fighters such as Larry Holmes, Ken Norton, Joe Frazier and many others.
He was the son of Pete and Louise Johnson and was born in Newark, NJ on October 14, 1946. He married his high school love, Brenda Johnson, on June 27, 1970.
Dwight graduated from South Side High School in Newark and attended Shaw University, a historically black college in Raleigh, NC. Dwight studied photography and made his career as a professional photographer.
His first position was at the Star-Ledger newspaper. As a news photographer, he covered a number of historic events such as the 1967 Newark riots and the impeachment of President Nixon.
Dwight's skills would lead him to his biggest career move as the chief photographer for boxing promoter Don King. " Dwight traveled the world photographing some of the most iconic celebrity figures and boxing matches in the 70s and 80s that sports fans today still treasure and revere.
In 1981, Dwight changed jobs and relocated his family to Orwell, Ohio to become the boxing camp director for Don King. Dwight loved living in Orwell and immersed himself in the community. He was a volunteer fireman, paramedic, and IT consultant. He left Don King Productions and entered the academy to become a deputy sheriff in Ashtabula County. He later worked for the state of Ohio as an agent for the Department of Liquor Control until his retirement in 2010. While retired, Dwight continued his civic duty by running for councilman in Orwell and served proudly until his passing. Dwight took his role seriously as the first African American appointee and strived to make his constituents proud.
In his leisure time, Dwight enjoyed gardening with his wife Brenda and grandson Kyle. He loved western movies and listening to jazz, classical, gospel, and R&B music. He enjoyed talks with his son Frederick who followed in his footsteps as a photographer and IT consultant. Dwight would spend hours in his basement office reading about technology and current events.
Dwight was a longtime member of the Orwell North Presbyterian Church and served faithfully until his passing.
His wife, Brenda, son, Frederick, niece, Kavel, nephew, Dwayne and grandchildren Kaylyn, and Kyle, and great granddaughter, Victoria, and host of great nieces and nephews survive Dwight. His parents, and his sister Michelle, and brother Wayne preceded him in death.
All services will be held at the Orwell North Presbyterian Church located at 135 N. Maple Street, Orwell, Ohio 44076 and officiated by Pastor John Gehring-Anders. Visitation will be Friday, May 3, 2019 at 6pm to 8pm and the funeral service will be Saturday May 4, 2019 at 11am.
Paine Funeral Home, Inc., is handling arrangements Orwell. Condolences may be made at painefuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Orwell Presbyterian Church.
FLOWERS - Please deliver directly to the Orwell Presbyterian Church. Church will be open on Friday, May 3rd 1pm to 4pm.