‘Arnie’ Johnson Sr. Dies; Longtime Sitkan was 69

Category: Obituaries
Created on Friday, 28 December 2018 14:14
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Arnold Walter Johnson Sr.

    Arnold Walter Johnson Sr., better known by family and friends as Arnie, passed away peacefully Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018. He was 69.
    He was born March 7, 1949, to Mary B. John and George B. Johnson Sr. He spent  his childhood in Angoon, and graduated from high school in Chilocco, Oklahoma. During the summers before graduating he would fish on the Mary D. with Bobby Duncan.
    Although Arnie spent much of his younger years on the water, he never learned how to swim, but that didn’t keep him from doing what he loved – fishing. And the way he could bait his herring, it was like magic, family said.
    After graduating from high school, he spent some time in Juneau, and later made his way to Sitka, where he began working at Mt. Edgecumbe High School. There he met Elizabeth G. Gardner, and the two began their life together as husband and wife on Aug. 4, 1973, at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Sitka. Together they had five children, and raised them in Sitka.
    His family was very important to him, and he enjoyed taking them out fishing, to visit family in Angoon, and on walks through Totem Park.
    Among his other passions were basketball and pool. If you didn’t see him out on the court playing ball, you could  see him in the stands at MEHS supporting high school athletes, or in Juneau for Gold Medal. He loved the sport, and the importance of being a good teammate.
    Arnie also was well-known in the Greater Sitka Pool League. He played many years with the league, and formed many lifelong friendship doing so.
    As a father of five children, he took great pride in being able to hunt and gather the traditional Native foods for his family; and he was never opposed to sharing with friends.
    He also enjoyed fishing the Sitka Salmon Derby, and knew where and how to fish any spot around Sitka.
    Arnie is survived by his children, Arnold Johnson Jr. (Taija and Chelsea Johnson), Katherine Johnson (Shawn Beauchamp), Lydia Spethmann (David Bean and Dylan Spethmann, father Matt Spethmann), and Victoria Johnson; and grandchildren Hayley, Hadley and Cody Kane and Taylor Helgeson.
    He also is survived by his brothers, Leonard and Stanley Johnson; and sisters Grace Sharclane, Genevieve Willard, Lorena Macasiat, Annie Braley, Velma Paul and Georgia Johnson.
    He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth; his mother and father, Mary B. John and George B. Johnson Sr.; his daughter Dahlia “Dolly” Johnson; his brother George B. Johnson Jr.; and sister, Gloria Plumber.
    “Arnie always did what he could with what he had,” his family said. “And he always told his children, ‘Tell the ones you love that you love them, no matter what. Because tomorrow is promised to no one.’”
    A small memorial will be held at a later date.