Robert "Coach" William Johnson, 82

June 21, 2009

AUG. 12, 1926-JUNE 17, 2009

Robert "Coach" William Johnson, 82, of Hagerstown, died Wednesday, June 17, 2009, at his home.

Born Aug. 12, 1926, in Sheridan, Pa., he was the son of the late Louie and Katie (Jackson) Johnson. He was the husband of 57 years of Patricia E. (Hill) Johnson of Hagerstown.

Coach graduated in the class of 1944 from Milcreek Township High School in Newmanstown, Pa., where he also was a member of the Civil Air Patrol. He then enlisted in the Army Air Force as a pre-aviation cadet. His military service took him to Keesler Field in Mississippi, Scott Field in Illinois and later to pilot training school at Tuskegee in Alabama.

Upon his honorable discharge from the service, Coach entered Morgan State College in Baltimore, Md., where he obtained a bachelor of science degree in health and physical education. He joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and became the vice bassilus of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.


In 1950, Coach accepted the position as science teacher and basketball coach at North Street School in Hagerstown. In 1956, he was transferred to North Hagerstown High School where he taught physical education, and coached basketball, football and baseball for more than 18 years. In 1974, Coach received his master's degree equivalent from the University of Maryland and accepted the position of vice principal of E. Russell Hicks Middle School. In 1983, Coach retired from the Washington County Public School System.

In 1984, he was employed by The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown as a district manager in the Circulation Department until 1991. In 1993, he was a technician with J.C. Ehrlich Pest Control until 1998, and in 2000, he accepted the position as a security guard for the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, where he later became head of security.

Coach has served in many capacities and on several boards over the years, including director for the North Street YMCA, board of directors for the YMCA, appointed youth commissioner by the governor of Maryland, board of directors of Goodwill Association, board of directors of Washington County Hospital, board member of the Commercial and Industrial Commission of the City of Hagerstown, trustee emeritus of the Trustee Board of Ebenezer AME Church in Hagerstown, past choir director of the Ebenezer AME Church Senior Choir, member of the Equity Advisory Council of the Washington County Board of Education and member of the Washington County Retired Administrators.

In addition to his many accomplishments, Coach was inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

In addition to his wife, Coach is survived by two daughters, Pamela E. Sonntag of Hagerstown and Penny E. Ponder of Birmingham, Ala.; two sons, Stephen L. Johnson of Beaumont, Texas, and Roderick L. Johnson of Hagerstown; three sisters, Lois Stockton and Carol Hayes, both of Lebanon, Pa., and Katherine Harewood of Lancaster, Pa.; two brothers, Edward Johnson of Harrisburg, Pa., and Winslow Johnson of Lebanon; 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Coach was preceded in death by one sister and four brothers.

The funeral service will be Wednesday, June 24, 2009, at 11 a.m. at Christ's Reformed Church, 130 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown. The Rev. Leroy Jackson will officiate. Burial will be in Cedar Lawn Memorial Park, Hagerstown, where full military honors will be accorded by AMVETS Post 10 and the Marine Corps League of Hagerstown.

Visitation will be Tuesday, June 23, 2009, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown.

The family suggests memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Washington County, 747 Northern Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21742 or Ebenezer AME Church, Building Fund, 40 W. Bethel St., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, Bryan K. Kenworthy P.A., 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown, has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences are accepted at

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