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John R. Johnson - Educator, School Principal and Class Sponsor

“Mr. Johnson is fresh out of college, looks cool with his tapered pants- narrow tie and sport coat, speaks eloquently and has been married a year”, whispered through the halls of ZHS.  

He was formally educated at Indiana Central College now University of Indianapolis and earned his Bachelors of Arts, with Social Studies as his major and a minor in English in 1958; Butler University, Masters of Science in 1964 in Secondary School Administration.  He had also earned an additional 30 hours beyond his Master’s Degree.  
Mr. Johnson began his teaching career at Zionsville in 1958-59 school year, as newlyweds of 1 year to wife Suzy.  He was our Class Sponsor of the Class of 1961 and other classes over the years.  His first years at Zionsville he taught U.S. History, World History and English 7.  Some other school activities over the decades ranged from being a Guidance Counselor, faculty Student Council representative, freshman boys basketball coach when Jim Rosenstihl was ZHS Head Coach.  “He was always respected by the players and students as a fair hand disciplinary and a pretty good ballplayer in his right.” “He was very cordial, cool looking and articulate person.”  “He had a way to motivate a student to learn and made it fun to do so!” In 1976 he became Principal of the Zionsville Middle School after serving as Assistant Principal with the late Principal Bob Gossman.  Mr. Johnson served as Principal until his retirement on  July 1, 1993.  After more than 24 years of educational administrative service for a total of 34 years of professional educational service to our community. Mr. Johnson considers Mr. Oliver Warner, former Zionsville High School Principal and Assistant Superintendent and our first recipient of Zionsville Alumni Association Soaring Eagle in 1985 to be his mentor and friend.  

 As our class sponsor he helped guide us in the right direction.   He and his wife Suzy have regularly attended our reunions over the past five decades; especially in 1986, 1994, our 50th Class Reunion and other gatherings.  Having Suzy in attendance was like having an extra sponsor along with other official school sponsor, Mrs. Lou Born. Suzy worked at the Indiana High School Athletic Association for 18 years.

They have been very active members in the Zionsville Christian Church where he is an elder. He really loves the game of golf, Notre Dame Football along with his friend the late Jack Frayman, was a past member of the Zionsville Lions Club and assisted with their many projects over his years of his active club membership. They retired to his hometown of Frankfort, Indiana 13 years ago but frequently revisit Zionsville. Mr. Johnson the son of Asa and Lora Johnson of Frankfort and was born on May 5, 1935.  He works out at the Frankfort YMCA five months of the year and plays golf 4-5 days a week.     They are proud parents of two sons, Tom and Mark, who are both graduates of Zionsville High School classes of 1984 and 1988 respectively.  Tom coaches’ boys’ basketball and teaches math at Wheeler High School in northern Indiana and Mark resides in Lawrence and employed at Roche Diagnostics.  The Johnson’s have six male grandchildren and is interesting no girls born into the Johnson family since 1900!

Compiled and Nominated by David Harris and Ralph Stacy