TRIBUTES have been paid to a Wrexham man who loved art, education and sport.

Jim Johnson was a stalwart of Wrexham Golf Club, was Head of the Art Department at the Groves School, and wrote athletics and golf reports for the Leader for more than 50 years.

He passed away on Wednesday, January 13, aged 83.

In 2014, he was honoured by Wrexham golf club when he was the recipient of a Life Honorary Membership for his services to the club.

A spokesman for the club said: "The Management Board of Wrexham Golf Club is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Mr. Jim Johnson. Jim was a member of the Club for over forty years, serving on the club Council for 16 years between 1977 and 1993 being Club Captain in 1983 and chairing every committee during his time on Council.

"Appointed Secretary of the Denbighshire Golfing Union in 1974 holding this Office until 1986. In 1978 he became one of the four founder members of the North Wales Counties Golf Association.

"During this time, Jim was also County Captain in 1993, County President in 1999/2000 and ultimately receiving the title of County Life President. He was also instrumental in setting up and running the Clwyd Championship, a prestigious amateur event. Jim was also an integral part of the Inter County Scratch Team golf from 1975 until 1993.

"In 2001 Jim took up the role as Secretary of Wrexham Golf Club, until retiring in March 2009 being Chairman of the Centenary Committee in 2006. Appointed North Wales Vice President in 2006 and President of the North Wales Counties 2007/2008.

"Jim was always the person sought out to give advice and guidance, offering wise counsel no matter the circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s family at this time, he will be greatly missed."

Jim was born in Johnstown in 1937, the only child of Charlie and Maggie Johnson and attended Johnstown Primary school until passing the 11 plus to Ruabon Grammar School at the age of ten years and six months, becoming the youngest pupil in the school during the 1948 intake.

The Leader: James 'Jim' Johnson.James 'Jim' Johnson.

Jim Johnson

By his own admission, he was never a full blown academic, his interests being in art and athletics

He enrolled at the Wrexham College of Art in 1953 and at the same time, at sixteen years of age, became one of the earliest members of Wrexham Athletics Club along with his friends Les Baldwin and Cyril Jones.

Manchester University followed where he gained his degree in Fine Arts and his teaching diploma, gaining a distinction in Teaching Practice at Manchester Grammar School under the headship of Lord James of Rusholme.

This was followed by two years National Service in the Royal Air Force, where his love of sport continued. He captained the Command Athletics team, and won the Royal Air Force and Combined Services Pole Vault Championships in the two years that he was serving, and was a member of the RAF team that defeated Spain in San Sebastian in 1960, the first occasion that they had been beaten in nine years.

Upon leaving the Service he was employed at Great Barr Comprehensive School in Birmingham as a teacher of ceramics. Two years later he took up his appointment at Grove Park Boys Grammar School in Wrexham where he remained until his retirement in 1989.

In 1972 he became Head of the Art Department at Grove Park, and Senior Master and Head of Upper School in 1983 following a further degree in Educational Management through the University of Wales, also joining the Welsh Joint Education Board as a Moderator in Art and Design, being promoted to Principal Moderator and Assistant Chief Examiner in 1993.

As Jim himself said: “Not bad for a man who can’t tell the difference between red and green,” as he was notoriously colour blind all his life.

His skills as a craftsman were beyond doubt, and he gained national recognition when in 1977 he was commissioned as the Welsh Calligrapher to letter and illuminate the Loyal Address to the Queen from the Welsh nation on the occasion of the her Silver Jubilee celebrations. The Vellum inscription in its leather case was presented to the Queen at Holyhead when she was aboard the Royal Yacht, Britannia.

He became Chairman of Wrexham Athletics club, then of the county, and finally Chairman of the North Wales four counties for a period of four years

Jim was married to Elizabeth, who he met while at university and married towards the end of his National Service in 1959.

The couple have four sons - Ian, Paul, Jerome and Julian, and a granddaughter Jodie.

He had a life-long love of fly fishing and spent many happy hours on the Penycae Reservoirs with Jerome who shared his passion. He first fished those waters in 1947 and re-connected with them in 1995 until he passed away.

Throughout the past fifty two years he had been a weekly contributor to the sports pages of the Wrexham Leader, starting with athletics in 1964 and moving on to golf in 1975. He rarely failed to meet his Wednesday morning deadline, producing fifty columns a year with his own accompanying pictures where applicable.

In 2004 he was featured at the conclusion of his forty years with the paper in an article by Trefor Williams with whom he enjoyed a great friendship and mutual respect.