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Meredith Shannon Johns

July 24, 1944 - June 10, 2023

Now…when we are old and near the wind
And all our tales are told
When all the trails we follow
Climb dark mountains
Great Spirit sighs
Our spirits rise
He takes them as he goes
In the clear light of his promises
The wind of darkness glows…

Fragment from a ‘Creation Myth’
M. Shannon Johns © 1970

ALFRED – Meredith Shannon Johns II, 78, passed away Saturday (June 10, 2023) at the Hart Comfort House of Allegany County in Wellsville following a lengthy illness.

Mr. Johns was born on July 24, 1944 in Chicago, Ill., to Meredith S. Johns Sr. and Harriette Johns (née Butler). He graduated from Tilden High School in 1962. In 1969 he met his future wife at Lake Forest College.  On June 20, 1970 he married Susan Rush Hoffman in Wayne, Pa., who survives.

Meredith was best described as a poet, musician, songwriter, and farmer. He was a gifted speaker and had artistic talents for words and song. Meredith had a passion for writing his own music and he played his guitar to a wide array of his melodies. To support his art, Meredith worked at various jobs throughout life. He was a commodity broker at the Chicago Board of Trade, managed oil wells in Oklahoma, gave educated wine tasting classes and was a white-water rafting guide. His real passion was his love for poetry. Meredith, along with his wife, founded their own publishing company, the Virgin Bridge Press to publish his works. Under the pen name M. Shannon Johns, he published “Poems…and Other Oracles”, “Cross the Troubled Heartland…the Poetics of African-Americana”, “The King of Broken Hearts”, and “Poetry Book Farm Journal”. His books, “The Snakeskin Doctor,” “Ol’ Man Tobacca” and “The Zombies Be Dancin’ Tonight” are held at the Chicago Historical Society.

In addition to his wife of 53 years, Meredith is survived by two daughters, Featherway Rush Johns of Alfred and Naia Shannon (Fabien) Rouveyre of London, England; three grandchildren, Ayinde Johns, Eloise Rouveyre, and Clara Rouveyre; and several cousins.

In 2007 Meredith and Susan left Chicago and moved to Alfred, where they raised Shetland sheep. Meredith spent much of his time enjoying the company of his wife. Together, they worked their farm, took care of the animals, cleared the land and cut firewood. In the quiet times they mulled over the creative process of writing. Susan would then illustrate his words into pictures. Meredith loved travel adventures with his wife and together their travels took them across the country and into Canada as far north as Hudson Bay. Often, they would camp alongside lakes and enjoyed the people and their stories they crossed paths with.

There will be no prior visitation. There will be a private celebration of life at a time to be determined.

Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Andover.  © 2023 Baker-Swan Funeral Home.


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