Ed Johnson Inducted 2013 - Class of 1971
Growing up in the Manhattan and Suder community of Ratleree Terrace, where any vacant lot was a baseball field or football arena, friendships were formed fast and hard. Still good friends today with Joe Correa, Mark Lindberg, and Jim McGill, all kids from the neighborhood, they followed Ed through the halls and classrooms of Hamilton to Woodward High School.
Ed recalled several memories of his four years at Woodward, especially lettering in baseball and Coach Fred Cieslewski. "Even though we thought we were pretty good, Coach Cieslewski taught us to "care" more than we knew we could, and for that I will always be grateful." Continuing, Ed appreciated the efforts of Woodward teachers; Mrs. Eileen Hudgin and Senora Reyes. Mrs. Hudgin was an English teacher who taught an unwilling class to appreciate good literature. Ed recalls that she could passionately lecture the entire class period about historical revolution and resurrection. While on the other hand, Senora Reyes was a very tough "no nonsense" instructor who helped Ed to organize his thoughts and through discipline, concentrate on the issues before him.
With a big smile that quickly filled the room, EJ as he was called at Woodward, affectionately remembered a Woodward-Waite pep rally in the overflowing and crowded gym. To support the football team in their upcoming game with Waite . . . . . We borrowed the Waite Indian Mascot and brought it to the pep-rally. EJ contentedly recalls that they were severely reprimanded and warned not to do it again. But, the very next year the look on the Administration's faces was priceless when we paraded Waite's Indian Mascot once again. Almost as an aside, EJ said that this time we had the permission of the local Pontiac dealer to use their large Indian head logo. EJ recollected that Woodward's teachers and staff made him feel comfortable in such a large school. Ed then added, "It was a great place to hang out after school, whether it was in the Tattler's office or in the gymnasium."
Another of Ed's friends from the neighborhood, perhaps his best friend, was Debbie Magly Johnson who also graduated from Woodward in 1971. They have been together for 39 years this coming September. EJ fondly recalled that "probably the only reason I went to College was to chase her." Their son, Zachary, is the National Director for the Children’s Miracle Network. Their daughter Valarie, a National Merit Finalist, is working as an Autism Instructor for Capable Kids after graduating from OSU. And their youngest daughter Carly was twice the State Champion in Impromptu Speaking and graduated Summa Cum Laude from OSU.
EJ graduated from Findlay College in 1975 lettering in baseball and receiving his B.S. degree in Physical Education and Recreation. After graduation EJ started teaching 8th grade science in the Blanchester, Ohio Local Schools. He then migrated to Mason Consolidated Schools in Erie, Michigan where he coached football and basketball along with teaching the sciences to the high school students. He left teaching in 1979 and went to work for Blako Industries where EJ was in charge of all aspects of sales for the packaging company. After 15 years with Blako Industries EJ started EDJE Plastics in 1994.
EJ's Community involvement is legendary. He was one of the original committee members for the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic from 1986 to1994. He was also the co-founder of the Andy Toth Fund along with childhood friend Joe Correa in 2005. When Andy Toth passed away all the money was donated in his name to start the "New Legacy Fund" of Woodward in 2008. And certainly not last, EJ volunteer's as Head Facilitator for St. Vincent Medical Center's "Boot Camp for New Dads."