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Allergic reaction eyed in man's death

September 12, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO - Bradley Windsor Johnson, a 30-year-old Boonsboro High School graduate, died last week in Virginia Beach, Va., from an apparent allergic reaction to fire ants.

Johnson graduated from high school in 1994 and left the area shortly after, said his brother, Kyle Johnson, also of Virginia Beach.

Bradley Johnson served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his brother said he was honorably discharged.

Bradley Johnson was working on a home Thursday when he called emergency dispatchers to say he had been stung by fire ants and was highly allergic, according to reports in The Virginian-Pilot. Emergency medical services officials there said they administered epinephrine to Johnson, but he died soon after arriving at a local hospital.

"I want everyone ... to know that (my brother) watched over me better than anyone ever could have watched over me," Kyle Johnson said. "I was there with him at his last moments."

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The Virginian-Pilot reported that the number of fire ants in southeastern Virginia has surged recently, partly because of sudden wet weather that forced them to the surface.

Bradley Johnson was a member and officer of Ruth Masonic Lodge No. 89 in Norfolk, Va.

Winton L. Wilgus, secretary of the lodge, said Johnson had been there for about two years, and had served as senior steward and junior warden.

"He would assist any of the other officers with things that needed to be done," Wilgus said. "He had speaking parts during the meeting and would direct people if they needed some assistance."

Wilgus said in the years he knew Johnson, he was always eager to help and offer assistance around the lodge.

"He was a person that ... some people they were asked to (do something) and they would grunt about it, and he'd say, 'OK, I'll do it,'" Wilgus said. "He was a very forward person as far as lending a hand."

Wilgus said Johnson was very easygoing and always smiling.

Johnson is survived by a wife and son, four brothers and both parents.

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