Shields Johnson was born in Montvale, Bedford County, Virginia on August 6, 1911. He attended Jefferson Senior High School in Roanoke Virginia, and went on to attend and graduate from Roanoke College in 1931 with an A.B. degree. After attending Roanoke, Johnson continued his education at the Kennett School of Commerce (now Virginia Southern College) in Roanoke, Virginia.
At Roanoke, Johnson made his mark with his involvement with numerous groups and activities on campus. He was president of the Maroon Club and was national chairman of the annual fund. Johnson was class president, and was committeeman for four capital campaigns. He was also president of the general alumni association.
Johnson then joined the staff of the Roanoke World-News as a reporter on June 10, 1931. In November of 1941, he became an assistant to the general manager of Times-World Corporation. Throughout the years, Johnson worked his way up in the business, serving as treasures, business manager, and even secretary. He retired as vice president and general manager of Times-World Corporation, the business for which he spent 42 years working for.
Along with his 42 year service to Times-World Corporation, Johnson was president of Junior Achievement of the Roanoke Valley, the Roanoke Rotary Club, and was director of the YMCA. He served as a director and member of the executive committee of First Federal Savings and Loan Association, and was director of Roanoke Valley Development Corporation. Johnson was the finance and public relations chairman of Blue Shield of South West Virginia. For seven years, he was chairman of the Legislative Information Committee as well as the International Newspaper Advertising executive. Johnson was the former director of the Southern Newspapers Association and was the former chairman of the Association's business committee.
Johnson's other activities included director, organizer, and/or president of the Roanoke Historical Society, the Roanoke Symphony, the Roanoke Sales Executive Club, the Roanoke Advertising Club, and the Better Business Bureau.
Shields Johnson was awarded the Roanoke College Medal for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the community. He received the medal in 1967, and was one of the first 12 recipients of this award. Johnson was married to Marry Ellen Hardin in 1953.
Shields Johnson received the Roanoke College Medal in 1967.