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Mississippi 811 founder and former president dies at 75

Mississippi 811 founder Sam Johnson (right) and former Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey (left) during Johnson's retirement party in March (Photo from Facebook)

Just months after his retirement, Mississippi 811 founder and former president Sam Johnson has passed away at the age of 75.

Johnson, born in Corinth on July 18, 1947, died in his home on Wednesday, according to his obituary. A cause of death has not yet been released.

In 1989, Johnson founded Mississippi 811, an organization dedicated to providing underground utility service, and grew it from its infancy into one of the most influential organizations across the state.

Known for his motto, “It’s the right thing to do,” Johnson spent his occupational life asking people to call 8-1-1 before digging to ensure they were not digging into an underground line.

“Sam was a true leader in the field of underground utility protection,” Central Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brent Bailey said. “He was a tireless advocate for safe digging practices and a champion of safety, always putting the well-being of others first. Sam will be deeply missed by all who knew him. His impact on the industry and the countless lives he touched will never be forgotten.”

Johnson’s funeral service will be held at the south chapel at Magnolia Funeral Home on Saturday, June 24 at 2 p.m. Visitation will begin at noon.

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