Nationally-known comedian Willie P. Richardson will perform a benefit concert beginning at noon on Saturday October 5, 2013, at the Appleby Sand Mercantile-Cafe', 6530 FM 2609 in Nacogdoches. The cafe’s owners, Angela and Kevin Bradford, will provide hot dogs and drinks at no charge.
The event will benefit lifetime East Texas residents, Norman and Lill Johnson.
Norman retired in 2001 from radio broadcasting upon being diagnosed with spinal degenerative arthritis. Now a resident of Willowbrook Nursing Center, he also suffers from vascular dementia, arterial sclerosis and arrhythmia, among other health problems.
Norman’s wife, Lill, lives separately in their downtown Nacogdoches home. She staves off negativity regarding her diagnosed Crohn’s disease by focusing on her art. However, she lost her job not too long ago and has recently filed for disability.
“They’ve always been really community-minded people and have done everything under the sun to help,” said David Stallings, benefit organizer and owner of Landmark Productions of Nacogdoches. “I just knew that they were in need of some help. They have helped so many people and causes here in Nacogdoches County, I thought it would be a good idea to try to help them.”
The list of Norman’s accomplishments are extensive. He built his life’s career around entertainment, having performed at the East Texas Yamboree, hosted the Beaumont television show Talent Time Twelve and a talk radio show through KSFA in Nacogdoches called The Norman Johnson Show. Quite possibly more than anything, he is known as the “World’s First Elvis Impersonator.” In what spare time he had, he served in many volunteer roles in the community.
“Norman really helped Make-A-Wish get started here in Nacogdoches County,” Stallings said. “He helped so many families and children. He was also named Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce back in 2000."
For close to two decades, Norman served as president of the Nacogdoches Adult Learning Center. He was a founder of the Nacogdoches Community Coalition, where he served as executive vice-president, and served on the board of directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Texas Gulf Coast for 15 years.
“I worked with him back in 1971 and ’72 at a radio station down in Diboll — country radio KSPL,” Stallings said. “We have been friends ever since. He has emceed for me for a number of country concerts. We have been friends forever.”
Lill’s track list, though somewhat smaller than her husband’s, is just as illustrious.
A descendant of the Davidson and Sleet families — early Nacogdoches settlers — Lill can trace her ancestry back to Sam Houston and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She has worked with several doctors in town as well as retained membership with the Nacogdoches Business and Professional Women’s Club, and the Citizen’s Police Academy.
Donations will be accepted throughout the event and 100 percent of all the money given will go toward the Johnson family.
“There is no charge and no obligation for anyone to give anything,” Stallings said. “Just show support for them.”
Comedian Willie P. Richardson will perform his comedy concert from noon until 1:15pm. Richardson's recordings have been aired on thousands of radio stations throughout the world, including SiriusXM Satellite Radio. More than 1.25 million of his CDs have been sold since 1996 and he has appeared in hundreds of live concerts over the years, including a stint in Branson, Missouri, working with The Platters. He was named "Comedian of the Year" at the annual Cammy Awards Show in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 2000 and is proud of the fact that his humor is clean and is acceptable to all audiences and age groups. Richardson will provide free autographed photos to those in attendance.
For those not able to attend, but wishing to support the family, send checks made out to Norman and Lill Johnson, P.O. Box 630955, Nacogdoches, Texas 75963.
Story written by Christine Broussard - The Daily Sentinel - Nacogdoches, TX