Longtime park worker honored at MCLP
Heather Bacsick/Special to the Times News Members of Frederick "Rick" Johnson's family attend the dedication at Mauch Chunk Lake Park recently. Back, from left, are his brother Jody Johnson and his wife, Shelley Johnson, who is holding a picture of Rick Johnson. Seated on the bench named in his honor are his son Joseph Johnson and his mother, Connie Johnson.
Recently, family and friends came to Mauch Chunk Lake Park to remember Frederick "Rick" Johnson. A dedication was made and a bench was named in his honor. Friends and family had a chance to come together and share memories of Johnson.
Johnson, of Summit Hill, passed away two years ago.
His wife, Shelley, said that he loved the outdoors and hunting and fishing. He loved Mauch Chunk Lake Park.
"His love is all over the park. He loved to be here. He loved the people he worked with," Shelley Johnson said.
Johnson had started working at the park around 1974. He worked all over the park and had built or had a hand in building most of the buildings in the park. He worked on the maintenance staff and also became head of maintenance.
Friends and family spoke of Johnson's love of the outdoors and Mauch Chunk Lake Park. They also spoke of his work and dedication at the park.
Dan Laughlin said that he worked with Johnson for 15 years and that they had become very close. They had bonded over the love of the outdoors and hunting and fishing.
Jack Herman said he also worked with Johnson.
"He was a great boss and could fix anything. He is sadly missed," Herman said.
Elizabeth Kromer, the former West Nile Director at Mauch Chunk Lake Park, said the work Johnson and his co-workers did for the park was so great and important.
"He is more than deeply missed."
Pat McGeehan said he and Johnson started the Heritage Festival that is held at Mauch Chunk Lake Park. McGeehan was in charge of getting the entertainment, and Johnson was the site manager.
The Heritage Festival features bluegrass and folk music, and this year will be its eighth year.
"Rick was passionate about music, and he was passionate about the park," McGeehan said.
At the dedication, Johnson's niece Jordon Devitt played the guitar and sang a few songs in his honor.
Family and friends also released balloons for Johnson.
Some of the many family and friends at the dedication were Johnson's mother, Connie Johnson, and brother Jody Johnson. Johnson has two other siblings, Diane and Brian. Johnson's son Joseph was also there. His other son, Jeremy, lives in Florida.