Skip to main content

Edward and Joyce Johnson

Edward and Joyce Johnson

Profiles in Good and Faithful Stewardship

By Vincent Way

"Everything comes from the Lord," declares Joyce Johnson. This heartfelt belief expressed on behalf of herself and her husband of sixty-one years, Edward, refers not just to their San Marino home (since 1953), nor to the personal assets that God has blessed to their keeping, but to every aspect of their lives. The ideal of the oft-depicted good and faithful steward of Christ's parables is reflected in the lives of Edward and Joyce, spent in Christian service, demonstrated through their work with the church, through their philanthropy, and in raising five children, of whom two are career missionaries and one whose premature death has worked to bring many to a second life in Jesus Christ.

In 1959, when the Johnsons' eldest daughter, Karen, died tragically in an automobile accident two weeks before her high school graduation, they found themselves entrusted with a priceless legacy from their daughter, a powerful statement of faith written on the eve of her death. Edward and Joyce's stewardship of Karen's testimony through its subsequent publication has resulted in the changed lives of those who heard the message of Christ's saving grace articulated by one so young. Says Joyce, "God was able to use her death, perhaps in a way that He might not have been able to use her life."

Even in Edward's daily work, he was engaged in professional stewardship as a savings and loan industry senior executive, managing the wealth of others for the increase. One of the results of Edward's successful more than fifty years in the thrift industry was that the Johnsons had amassed an impressive portfolio of appreciated stock in the various financial institutions in which Edward had been a senior officer. The Johnsons searched for a way that they could begin to divest a portion of their portfolio to provide current income to each of their four children.

Through their friendship with Chancellor Charles Runnels, they discovered in Pepperdine an institution that shared their dedication to servant leadership, as well as the financial and legal expertise at the Center for Estate & Gift Planning, which was able to competently address all of their estate planning goals.

By setting up four charitable remainder unitrusts for the benefit of their four children, Edward and Joyce have been able to provide lifetime income for each. The unitrusts also meet the Johnsons' charitable intentions as they are designated to provide significant support to Pepperdine's spiritual mission at maturity. This dual benefit of the unitrust is made possible by allowing the appreciation in the Johnsons' stock to pass into the trust without taxation and generate income from the full value of their stock. Edward tells us, "My reason for investing in Pepperdine is their strong posture in maintaining what George Pepperdine stood for. It is that Christian thrust which we believe strengthens the student." Joyce adds, "For? our daughters who are in full-time Christian mission work, the unitrusts have made the difference in meeting personal needs and enabled them to be charitable givers themselves."

The Johnsons have also set up two charitable gift annuities to provide funding for an on-campus church building and for their own lifetime income, and pre-paid tuition plans for the benefit of the grandchildren. Chancellor Runnels says, "Ed and Joyce have been wonderful supporters and their faith is tremendously inspiring. I think it is extremely gratifying when people like the Johnsons, who exemplify trust and compassion, choose to trust us in turn with their own legacy."