Alfred Nicholas Johnson was born in Laurium, Houghton County, Mich., on March 10, 1927, to Alfred Nelson and Elizabeth Jackson Johnson. He died at Enloe Hospital in Chico, Calif., on Feb. 19, 2013. He spent his early years in Cavalier, N.D., moving with the family to Grafton, N.D., in 1930. He played football, baseball and basketball at Grafton High School, where he also played on their first ice hockey team as an eighth-grader.
In 1945 Al joined the Navy and spent time in the Pacific Arena in the last stages of World War II. He was honorably discharged in September 1946 and returned to Grafton to finish high school. Al also spent two years at Valley City State Teachers College, playing football while there.
In 1951 Al moved to Chinook, Mont., where he learned the printing trade. In 1954 he married Eleanor Anderson at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Chinook. They moved to Cavalier, N.D., in 1955 and then to Havre, Mont., where he worked for the Havre Daily News. In 1964 they moved to Chico, Calif., where he continued to working in the newspaper business. They have lived in Chico for 48 years.
Al’s love of sports continued all of his life. He was an avid golfer and long-distance bicyclist. For several years he was President of the Chico Aqua Jets, where he worked to broaden the team to include aspiring swimmers from all income levels.
Al and Eleanor are proud parents of daughters, Jackie Allmond and Patti (Rod) Askim; and two sons, Jim (Debbie) and Bill Johnson (deceased). They are also grandparents to Sandi (Adam) Beaty, Jason Van Sandt, Kaitlyn and Kimberly Johnson, Josephus Allmond, AJ and Andrew Johnson; and great-grandparents to Eric and Nicholas Van Sandt and Jacob Beaty; brothers-in-law, Marlin Torkelson and Phil Kaluza; and sister-in-law, Bette Killian, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Al was pre-deceased by his parents; son Bill, brothers William and Paul Johnson; sisters Peggy Nybo and Hope Torkelson; and sisters-in-law Jeanette Kaluza and Grace Wuerl.
Funeral Services were held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, at our Divine Savior Catholic Church, in Chico, with a reception following at Italian Cottage. Affordable Mortuary handled the arrangements.