WALLINGFORD, CT – (From Wallingford Funeral Home) Richard Arno Johnson Sr., 93, of Wallingford passed away on Saturday, June 25, 2022, known by most as Dick, Mr. J., or Coach.
He was the beloved husband of Alice Loane Johnson with whom he enjoyed 71 years of married life prior to her passing on June 4, 2020.
Dick was born September 9, 1928, in Bowdoin, Maine, the son of Robert Horace Johnson and Hazel Arno Johnson. He grew up in Gardiner Maine and graduated from Gardiner HS, where he played football and hockey.
Following graduation, he enlisted in the US Merchant Marines. Once old enough he left the Merchant Service and enlisted in the United State Marines Corps. While in Rome, Italy he was one of 4 Marines chosen for a private audience and blessing with Pope Pius XII, which he thought was a little funny as he was a Methodist!
Dick left the Marine Corps a veteran of WWII only to be called back during the Korean Conflict. He was discharged a couple years later having attained the rank of Sergeant. After the Marine Corps he enrolled in and graduated from Maine Central Institute, where he met his future wife, Alice.
Dick was again active in sports at MCI and won the Maine State Football Championship as a running back and linebacker. Dick continued his education at Springfield College, but the demands of a growing family changed his course.
He moved to Wallingford with his wife Alice to raise their family. He was a devoted member of the First United Methodist Church and worked as a lab technician at American Cyanamid.
What most people remember of Dick is “Coach Johnson”! In the 1950’s he was a founding father of the Wallingford Junior Football League. From the inception of the league until the mid 1980’s Dick coached hundreds of young men in Wallingford– often driving them to and from practice and games, including his sons and grandson!
He followed the careers of many young men and loved to support them by attending their games as they progressed on to high school and college. Many will recall him on the side lines of their games yelling, “fire out”, “hit hard”, “keep low”!
We will remember him most as a Dad, Grampa J and Great Grampa J. He loved to be around his greatest legacy, his family.
He was predeceased by his wife Alice, their children Richard, Bruce, Julie Buchanan, and grandchildren Katelyn Buchanan and Taylor Short.
Dick is survived by his son Robert (Elaine) Johnson, son-in law Kevin Buchanan, daughters Jennifer Short, (Ken Welch), Sarah Johnson, (George Achille); grandchildren, Richard (Sharon) Johnson, Kristen (Mike) Woody, Victoria Buchanan, Elizabeth Buchanan, (Alex Silva), Edward Short III (Hannah Kalee), Brandon (Kasey) Carr, Catherine (Jay) Morgan, Heather Carr and Mitchell Carr (Hannah Oulette); and great-grandchildren, Nathaniel Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Adelina Carr, Elowyn Carr, Henry Morgan and Macallan Silva.
He is also survived by his brother Arthur (Cynthia) Johnson of Belgrade ME, several nieces, nephews, and many members of his football teams.
Coach Johnson will be fondly remembered by all.
Services will be private and in lieu of remembrances Coach Johnson asks that you spend some time with a young person doing something fun!