Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship

Tom (TJ) Johnson was born in Zanesville in 1954 and lived here throughout his life. After graduating from Zanesville High School in 1972, he obtained a degree in law enforcement; however his true love was business. His entrepreneurship started when he was very young. Before the age of 16, he made money in many ways, including selling apples, mowing grass and delivering newspapers.

When he was 16 years old, he began working for Domino's Pizza, “where his blood was replaced with pizza sauce”. Tom started as a delivery driver and held every position possible before he became a franchisee in 1978 with the Domino's East location. When he passed away, he was a franchisee of 12 stores. He was truly loved by past and present employees, as his strong work ethic and ability to lead by example gained him the respect of all who worked for him.

Tom was an avid bowler, golfer, and softball player for most of his life. Throughout his bowling career, he earned many awards and bowled several 300 games.

Family was always number one in Tom’s life. He and his wife raised two daughters. He always maintained a strong balance between work and family because he believed that without family, you have nothing. His family was his true success!

At the age of 54, Tom was diagnosed with a fast growing brain tumor. When diagnosed, Tom felt he had lived life to its fullest and had no regrets. A man known for his incredible love for people and unmatchable sense of humor, he kept his spirit throughout his battle with cancer. Because he made a significant impact on Zanesville, many people worked together and sold enough tickets to “Zanesville Night at the Cincinnati Reds” for Tom to deliver the first ball onto the Red’s pitcher’s mound. Many people helped him to live a life long dream that night.

Tom passed away on February 26, 2009 at the age of 55.

This scholarship was established to honor Tom’s memory, his sense of humor, his love for his family, his love of sports, and the value he placed in education. He considered himself a late bloomer; as his most successful school days were in college. He was known for his “go get ‘em, never give up” attitude.

To fund this scholarship each year, the friends and family of Tom Johnson host the ''TJ 5K'' in his honor. Go to to learn about future events.

  • • The applicant should have a true love for life, a fantastic work ethic, a great sense of humor, and true respect for their family.
  • • All applicants must be 2023 graduates of a Muskingum County high school.
  • • Recipients will be student athletes from the following sports: golf, bowling, or softball.

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2021 - Malerie Vandyne

2021 - Malerie Vandyne

Malerie is attending Ohio State University majoring in integrated Language Arts

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2020 - Aayla Mayle

2020 - Aayla Mayle

Aayla is a 2020 graduate of Zanesville High School and will be attending Muskingum University majoring in Biology.

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2019 - Alexandrea Lemley

2019 - Alexandrea Lemley

Alexandrea Lemley is a 2019 graduate of Tri-Valley High School. Pictured with Tom's daughter, Lisa Burkett and granddaughter Kaidence Burkett.

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2018 - Rachel Saltz

2018 - Rachel Saltz

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2018 - Alyssa Shawger

2018 - Alyssa Shawger

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2017 - Molly Fuller and Logan Jarrett

2017 - Molly Fuller and Logan Jarrett

Philo High School Seniors, Molly Fuller and Logan Jarrett, accept the Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship from Tom's daughter, Lisa Johnson-Burkett, and granddaughter.

Tom Johnson Memorial Scholarship - 2017 - Carmelita Shook

2017 - Carmelita Shook

Carmelita Shook is a senior at Zanesville High School. Pictured with Lisa Johnson Burkett.