Keith Alan Johnson died Dec. 5, 2019, due to complications of diabetes. Keith was born Oct. 5, 1959 in Ishpeming, Michigan and grew up in Republic, Michigan. He was the third of eight children born to Kenneth and Sonja Johnson.
Keith grew up next to the Michigamme River in a house originally owned by his great grandfather, an immigrant from Finland. Keith and his siblings spent their time swimming, canoeing, fishing, ice skating and cross-country skiing.
Keith graduated from Republic-Michigamme High School in 1977. He excelled in academics as well as sports, especially baseball, basketball and long-distance running. He was voted Best Dressed in high school, which may come as a surprise to those who knew his later preference for fleece sweatpants and Xtratufs.
Keith had a strong work ethic that started with a paper route as a child; he then worked in a restaurant with his mother and became especially adept at peeling potatoes. He also worked as a lifeguard at the beach. Keith spent two years after high school working at the Republic Mine before pursuing his dream of moving to Alaska. Keith trained in diesel mechanics at AVTEC in Seward, then spent over 30 years as a mechanic traveling throughout Alaska. His talent as a mechanic was well known and he proudly supported the fishing fleet of Kodiak. Keith met his wife, Linda McCool, while working for her father at Marine Works Inc. They briefly lived in Dutch Harbor, Alaska and Paradise, California before settling in Kodiak, Alaska in 1988, where they raised two children.
Keith battled diabetes for 25 years, and its complications led to an early retirement. He did not let those complications stop him from enjoying Kodiak’s great outdoors. He loved fishing for rainbow trout in the lakes near his home, as well as camping in any kind of weather. Keith also enjoyed spending time with his dog Phoebe, taking saunas, vegetable gardening, cooking for his loved ones, making people laugh, and being a grandpa. All throughout his life, Keith loved watching Packer football. He spent his 60th birthday touring Lambeau Field in Green Bay with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law.
Keith leaves behind his wife of 32 years, Linda McCool; his daughter, Hannah Johnson (Zeb Kraft); son Eli Johnson; and grandson Sawyer Johnson. In Kodiak, he also leaves behind his brother Wayne Johnson (Nancy Johnson) and his nephews Ethan Johnson (Sarah Johnson) and Sam Johnson. In Michigan, he leaves behind his father Kenneth Johnson (Barbara Johnson), his aunt Jean Warlin, his other brothers Greg Johnson (Rita) and Ryan Johnson (Angela), and his sisters Holly Johnson (Don Anderson), Brenda Mattson (Ray), Julie Prychitko (Dave), and Stacie Nelson (Tim), as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other beloved relatives and friends.
Keith was preceded in death by his mother Sonja Johnson, his aunt Sally Hall, his maternal grandparents Bill and Sylvia Makinen, and his paternal grandparents Charles and Laina Johnson.
Celebrations of Keith’s life will be held in the future in both Kodiak and Michigan. Condolences may be sent to Linda McCool, care of Wayne Johnson, at P.O. Box 640, Kodiak, AK 99615.