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UNCP coach, PE teacher Ken Johnson passes away

October 13, 2009

Dr. Kenneth P. Johnson, 94, a retired coach and physical education professor, passed away on October 1 in the Lutheran Retirement Home.


Kenneth Johnson with wife Doris Baumann Johnson

He was born in Jamestown, N.Y., on January 8, 1915, son of the late Charles A. and Cora Petrie Johnson.

Kenneth was a 1935 graduate of Jamestown High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. He continued his education by earning his doctorate in health and physical education from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

Dr. Johnson was also a World War II veteran and served in the U. S. Navy. He worked in physical therapy at a naval hospital.

He began his teaching career as a physical education teacher with the Dexter Central School System in Dexter, N.Y. He moved on to Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn., for 10 years before moving on to Oristic College in Presque Isle, Maine.

Dr. Johnson re-located in North Carolina working for 25 years at The University of North Carolina in Pembroke, retiring in 1980. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he spent his summer months in Jamestown, where he ran the tennis program for the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department.

He attended the First Lutheran Church in Jamestown, and while living in North Carolina was a member of the Pine Crest Country Club in Lumberton, N.C., and was president of the Pembroke Kiwanis Club.

“Dr. Johnson was passionate about sports and his nick-name was ‘Doc’ or just ‘Coach,’” said Dan Kenney, UNCP athletic director. “In his swimming pool in Pembroke, he taught over 100 children from the Lumbee Tribe how to swim, and in his later years, he could be found teaching someone the game of chess or the piano.”

Surviving are his brother, Duane C. Johnson of Jamestown; his niece and nephews, Siri Lawson, Scott Johnson and Jeffrey Johnson, all of Jamestown, David Miller of Largo, Fla., Dr. Christian Berg of Tallahassee, Fla.; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Doris Baumann, who died Jan. 19, 1998; and two sisters, Neoma Berg and Mildred Miller.