Fred Johnson, one of life's brightest lights, was extinguished on Feb. 4, 2017, surrounded by his loving family. Fred was emitted into Cleveland Clinic for two weeks and passed due to complications of stage 4 pancreatic cancer and infection.
He was born March 20, 1947, in Ashtabula to Alvin and Betty (Mosier) Johnson. Fred graduated from Jefferson Area High School in1965, where he participated in football, basketball, baseball, track, earning eight varsity letters; and also in the band (trumpet) and choir. He attended Hiram College while participating in football and baseball, and received a bachelor degree in education from Kent State University. Fred furthered his educational career with a masters in administration supervision, 1973; additional studies at The University of Akron, 1976; Superintendent's Certificate and Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Youngstown State University, 1999. Fred's main educational inspiration was his aunt Elizabeth Meahl, who had a 49 year career in teaching. His goal was to reach 50 years. Fred departs in peace with 47 years of educational leadership.
Fred inspired his students in the English literature classroom as a gifted teacher. At United High School, Fred coached four years with a 35-4-1 record and three Tri-County League Championships and head track coach two years. The one trophy Fred treasured the most was the gold football awarded to him from the 1976 United football championship team, 10-0 record. He was head football coach at Tuslaw, Hudson, and Minerva with 75-53-3 overall record, five league titles, and one playoff appearance.
Fred began the position of superintendent at Southern Local School District in 1995-1996 and continued on to Newton Falls High School from 1996-2000. Fred completed 31 years of public school leadership in Ohio.
Dr. Johnson began his Pennsylvania administrative career at Selinsgrove Area School District, 2001-2010. His helping hands guided Selingsgrove's head coach Dave Hess to the only Class AAA 2009 football state championship. He was superintendent over 7,000 students at Souderton Area School District, near Philadelphia, 2010-2013. His last administrative role was the CEO of the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, serving 17 public school districts with over 65,000 students.
Fred was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church, New Franklin, Past President of Presidents of Pennsylvania Superintendent Association, New Superintendent's Academy, Phi Kappa Phi of Chapter 143 Youngstown State University, American Education Research Association, Phi Delta Kappa of Mahoning Valley Chapter, and numerous other organizations.
Fred is survived by his wife Kathleen (Whiteleather) Johnson, a retired math professor from Kent State University; two sons, Wesley (Nikki Howell) and Travis of Salem; his grandchildren, Scarlet Marjorie and Savanna Nicole; nieces, nephews, and many other relatives. Fred is also survived by his mother, Betty (Mosier) Johnson; a brother, Thomas (Karen) Johnson of Jefferson; a niece, Janis (Pat) Tenan; a nephew, Thomas Johnson, Jr.; devoted "grandmother to all," Marjorie Whiteleather; brother-in-laws Glenn and Lawrence; sister-in-laws Shirley (Russ) Fox, Ruth (Larry) Orrell, Esther Whiteleather, Betty (Tom Hagan) Whiteleather, Margie (Larry) Wilson, and Nancy (David) McCauley. Fred was preceded in death by his father, Alvin Johnson; his aunt, Elizabeth Meahl; and a father-in-law, Ludwig Whiteleather.
Fred's most recent efforts were directed toward being the founder and developer of Johnson Family Farms. He took pride in the natural product and provided a great environment for farming. He always believed in giving 100% and being the best he could be. Fred worked with devotion and great drive regarding family values. He was always clear with his thoughts and leaves no one behind in his planning.
Calling hours will be held Friday, Feb. 10, 6-9 p.m., in the Gotschall-Hutchison Funeral Home, Minerva. The funeral will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m. at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Minerva, with the Rev. Joe Ertl officiating with one hour visitation prior to the funeral.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to United Local High School Football Program, 8149 State Route 9, Hanoverton, Ohio, 44423, or Minerva Local High School Football Program, 501Almeda Ave, Minerva, Ohio, 44657, or St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church Sunshine Fund. Condolences may be left on Fred's online guest book at www.gotschallfuneralhome.com