EL PASO, Texas -- A long-time El Paso bishop who presided over an Aug. 3 shooting victim's funeral that drew worldwide attention has died of Covid-19 after a months-long battle with the contagious virus, according to his employer and family.
"With a heavy heart we are saddened by the loss of our co-worker, last responder, funeral director and Bishop Harrison Johnson has gone to be with his Lord," reads a social media post from Perches Funeral Home announcing Johnson's death that occurred this week, five months after he contracted the novel coronavirus.
Johnson had been a funeral director for more than four decades, perhaps most notably presiding over the funeral service of Margie Reckard, one of the 23 mass shooting victims gunned down in El Paso's Cielo Vista Walmart store on Aug. 3, 2019.
Reckard's death gained global notoriety after her widower, Tony Basco, said the couple had no close family or friends. Fearing there would be no one at her funeral, Basco invited "everyone" to attend.
A social media post at the time by Johnson and the funeral home with Basco's invitation quickly garnered national, and then international, attention.
Reckard's service drew over 3,000 mourners from across the nation and hundreds of floral arrangements sent from people around the world, with Johnson at the time professing that he had "never seen a funeral of this magnitude for a normal person."
The bishop can be seen in images and videos from that day alongside Basco, accompanying the grieving husband as he greeted the long lines of complete strangers who turned out to mourn with him.
Although Reckard's funeral may have been among the most noteworthy Johnson officiated, Perches noted over his 40-year career the "countless numbers of families he helped get through some of their toughest times of their lives."
"He will be missed but not forgotten," the funeral home statement said.