JOHNSON, MICHAEL A. (Mickey)
Born August 31, 1940 in Penticton, died suddenly August 11, 2008 on the Penticton Golf Course after making a perfect approach shot to the fifth green, on a perfect summer day in the company of two of his golf buddies. The cause of his death was a spontaneous rupture of the aorta.
Mickey was raised in Rossland, BC. His whole life was competitive sports and he excelled at almost any he took up, starting with little league baseball where he pitched a mean ball, then lacross, a short stint at hockey which he abandoned for competitive skiing at nearby Red Mountain. He reached the level of the National Ski Team in 1962-64, a team mate of Nancy Greene Raine. After marriage to Gail Harvey of Prince Rupert, he coached ski racers at Banff and Rossland, and halibut fished out of Prince Rupert for 10 summers. In 1971, the family moved north to Terrace where Mickey spearheaded the community development of the Kitsumkalum Ski Hill. (The lifts and lodge were later moved to a higher elevation at Shames Mountain.) At Terrace Mickey moved through many incarnations: ski school director, ski instructor, ski shop owner, racing coach to the team his two children skied on, as well as gradually expanding his ski shop into a strip mall of five commercial spaces.
It was during his 20 years in Terrace that Mickey took up golf as avidly as he had taken up skiing. He was a fiecrce competitor at the two-day northern tournaments at Terrace, Smithers, Kitimat and Prince Rupert. He retired from the ski shop business and became a landlord till he sold his commercial building last year. He and Gail moved to Rossland where he was a member of the Rossland-Trail Golf Club and competed in almost every tournament in the Kootenays before moving to Penticton in 2001. As a member of the Penticton Golf Club he enjoyed the many one-day senior tournaments in the Okanagan Valley. He was a two time winner of the Penticton Senior Men’s Championship. Golfing for 6 months in BC wasn’t enough for Mickey. For the past 15 winters he has been a golfing snowbird in Blythe, California and Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He will be missed by many golfers who enjoy the challenge of a pure game.
Mickey was active every day, if not golfing, then it was bike riding, or dancing on the weekends. He treated dancing as another athletic event and danced in golf shorts and t-shirt. He had a philosophy that he lived by: if you are not enjoying yourself, you are wasting your time.
Mickey is survived by Gail, his wife of 44 years; his son, Ben and partner Shannon Monssen (Kelowna); his daughter, Michele and her husband, Drew Welch (Alma, Colorado), and his mother Inez (Trail). He was predeceased by his father Ray in 1999.
There will be a “Drop in while playing through” reception to celebrate Mickey’s life at the Penticton Golf Club upstairs lounge between 11:00a.m. and 1:00p.m. Saturday, August 23, 2008. Memorial donations may be made to the Penticton Golf and Country Club Defibrillator Fund (Box 158, Penticton, BC, V2A 6K3) Arrangements in care of Everden Rust Funeral Services 493-4112.