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Stephen Johnson

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Stephen Johnson Obituary
Stephen Alvin "Al" Johnson, 88, passed away at his home Thursday, May 5, 2011, with his wife and daughter at his side, following a long illness. Graveside services will be held Tuesday, May 10, at 1 p.m. at Fort Bayard National Cemetery with full military honors. A celebration of his life will take place at Bright Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. "Coach" Al Johnson was born Aug. 15, 1922, in Munday, Texas. He attended college and played football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. For two years before joining the U.S. Marine Corps, serving from 1943-46. As part of the 5th Marine division, 13th Marines Artillery, he participated in action at Iwo Jima and the occupation of Japan. He married Isla Faye Berna in Dublin, Texas, on Dec. 22, 1946, then returned to Hardin-Simmons to complete his degree. Following graduation, he was named to the College All-Star Team, then was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was inducted into the Hardin-Simmons University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the Western New Mexico University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. He and his wife moved to Silver City in 1949, where he taught and coached football and baseball, first at Western High School, then at Western New Mexico University. He retired from WNMU in 1985. Coach Johnson loved playing golf and did so every chance he got. He and his wife enjoyed square dancing and traveling with friends, and they were members and past presidents of the Gila Hot Sox. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. He had a deep love of nature and the outdoors, and spent much time exploring the wonders of the Gila Wilderness, a love that he taught to and instilled in his daughter. He was preceded in death by his parents; Lon and Rose Johnson; two brothers, Tillman and T.P.Johnson; and a nephew, Stephen Johnson. He is survived by his wife, Isla; daughter, Stacee Meis (Andy) of Oakdale, Calif.; a sister, Macie Henderson, and a nephew, Ron Henderson, of Brownwood, Texas; nephew Pete Johnson of Burleson, Texas; and nieces Linda Carey of Farmington and Bobbie Barger of Zephyrhills, Fla. Coach Johnson loved his students, players, family and friends. He touched many lives, always caring and giving first to others. Most important to him, though, were his "two girls," Isla and daughter, Stacee.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on May 11, 2011
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