JOHNSON, Alford August Austin|
Alford August Austin Johnson was born in Hutto, Texas on June 13, 1920, to Frank John William and Maria Elizabeth Swensk Johnson. He claimed the promise of his baptism on December 24, 2013.
Alford grew up between Hutto and Jonah, Texas and attended Monadale and Bell School. The tenth of twelve children, fourth of six sons, he helped his family on the farm, probably gathering eggs for his mother, definitely chopping and picking cotton, and hunting with his brother, Gene. A skunk pelt would bring a quarter which would buy a pair of black high top sneakers. One time he and Gene walked all the way to Georgetown where they bought three cigars for that quarter. Dad never smoked again.
In addition to farming, Alford worked for the Austin State Hospital. On May 26, 1942, he became Pfc. Alford A. Johnson when he was inducted into the Army, 45th Infantry Division, as a surgical tech. He was proud to serve under General George S. Patton. They walked in Africa as well as Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. Certainly boats were involved as they landed on Anzio Beach where Dad was wounded. Pfc. Johnson was awarded the Purple Heart Medal on May 28, 1944. Dad was proud to show us his Purple Heart and the mortar that wounded him, but if we asked about his scar, he said that was where the Indian shot him. He showed us his ribbons and his war souvenirs but it wasn't until we obtained his separation paper that we learned he was also awarded one Bronze Arrowhead Good Conduct Medal, one Service Stripe, Four Overseas Service Bars, and the EAME Campaign Ribbon with six bronze stars. He probably earned one of those stars because he would not leave his unit after being wounded. Traveling with the 45th Infantry was a cartoonist named Bill Mauldin. Mr. Mauldin drew two cartoons about Pfc. Johnson which are published in several of Mr. Mauldin's books.
After the war, Dad returned to farming, including a dairy farm. He went dancing at Dessau Hall where he met Bonnie Marie Hayes Hocker. Alford also worked at the Department of Public Safety. They married in 1948 and he became Daddy to her five year old daughter Patricia Ann Hocker. In 1950, Shirley Diane was born followed by Bonnie Gay in 1953. After Dad stopped farming, he went to work as a mechanic at Compton Motors in Georgetown. A year or so later, the family moved to Austin where Dad went to work for the U.S. Postal Service. He also worked as a carpenter for Douglas H. Hicks with his brother-in-law, Elfin Skoglund and delivered prescriptions part time for Dr. Chuck Walker at the Prescription House. Dad retired from the Post Office with 28 years of service.
When the children were growing up, the family enjoyed trips to California where Dad's brother, Emory, lives. There were visits to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Sequoia National Park, and camping in Yosemite National Park. The family visited all of Dad's siblings and their families. There were also many trips to the Texas coast to visit Bonnie's family. The trips to City Park for swimming and cookouts occurred often, sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous. Dad would swim for awhile and then cook hamburgers while the kids swam. Other relatives often joined in the fun.
Dad helped start The Swensk Family Reunion in 1961 and it continues to this date. He also liked to garden, planting pecan trees, fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. He hunted deer, elk, and bear with a rifle and bow and arrow in Texas and Colorado. Barbequeing, cooking, and making homemade ice cream were also activities Dad enjoyed. He also helped care for his mother and was a good brother to his siblings. Dad also enjoyed playing the guitar, harmonica, and accordion.
Alford's wife, Bonnie, died in July, 1970. In 1985, he married Evalyn Carr. He and Evalyn traveled in Texas as well as Europe, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, and fulfilled Dad's dream to see Alaska. Evalyn died in 2010.
In addition to Bonnie and Evalyn, Alford is predeceased by his parents, ten siblings, three nephews, and other extended family.
Alford is survived by his brother Emory Johnson; sister-in-law Laverne Johnson; three daughters: Ann Stuenkel (Gene); Shirley Johnson; Bonnie Thompson (Bill); stepson Joe Vaughn (Sarah); three grandsons: Greg Stuenkel (Kim); Monte Stuenkel; Tim Yantes (Jennifer); step-grandson Ashley Vaughn (Noelle); step-granddaughter Jennifer Hall (Aaron); seven great grandchildren; five great-great grandchildren; four step great grandchildren; eleven nieces; nine nephews, other extended family, a number of friends, and his beloved dog, Zeus.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 200 West Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78752.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Heart to Heart Hospice or the charity or ministry of your choice.
The family wishes to express its most heartfelt appreciation to Seton Medical Center, the staff and residents of Emeritus at Spicewood Springs, and Heart to Heart Hospice for the loving care they provided to Alford and to us. The Johnson family is sincerely grateful to Weed-Corley-Fish for the compassionate care to us and for the most respectful manner in which they handled Dad's departure from Emeritus in the very early hours of Christmas Eve morning. We are thankful also for Dad's Pastor, Karl Gronberg, for the many visits, flowers, bulletins and notes, and for always making our Dad's face light up and smile a big smile.
Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Jan. 9 to Jan. 11, 2014