Alan Johnson

Obituary of Alan Richard Johnson

     Alan was born on May 21, 1946 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is one of six children and the son of Ruth E. Lutz and George W. Johnson, who immigrated from Sweden as a child. He grew up in the Lutheran faith. As a young boy, Alan loved spending time with his Italian godparents. He boasted that he learned to speak Italian when he was little. Perhaps that’s why he had a long-held bucket list item of traveling to Rome to see the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel – a dream fulfilled in the summer of 2016.

Alan grew up with a deep love of sports, animals, and music. He was active in the Boys Club and enjoyed summers working on a farm. He graduated from West Division High School in 1965 where he excelled at track and field, swimming and diving, football and baseball. He lifeguarded and also taught swimming lessons to inner city children. He continued his athletic career at Marquette University.

He met the love of his life Athanasia “Soula” Stathopoulos, who immigrated from Greece to Milwaukee. They married on December 29, 1969 in Athens, Greece and returned to Milwaukee for only a short time before trading the snow for sunlight, driving to Florida to start a new life together with just $300 in their pocket. They knew no one in Florida, but he was determined to cure Soula’s homesickness for Greece. They settled in Bradenton, Florida, and Alan got to work. In those early years he worked several jobs at a time, including McDonald’s, working at horse stables and for an Ophthalmologist apprenticing to become an optician. They raised two children, Theodora and Constantine. He was a founding member of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church established in 1973, with Constantine the first child to be baptized there. Alan was chrismated in the Greek Orthodox faith and continued to be highly involved in the parish on the Board of Directors, the construction committee of the new church and as Chairman of the Greek Glendi.

In the early 1970s, he became a licensed optician and worked for Lynn Optical in Bradenton. In 1978, he opened Johnson’s Optical Fashions on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, which operated for three decades, with Soula at his side. He had the technical skill and the gift of gab balanced by his wife’s business savvy and fashion style. He loved his customers, especially the performers and crew of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus and sports stars. He semi-retired in 2004 closing the optical business and purchased Popi’s Place 1 at McKechnie Field (spring training home for the MLB Pittsburgh Pirates) in Bradenton with his son Constantine. He was a daily fixture at breakfast time greeting all the customers, as well as being the parking attendant on Spring training game days.

He was a proud member of the Hernando De Soto Historical Society and Hernando De Soto Crewe. A lover of all people, a stranger to none, and a stand-in father figure, uncle, and godfather to many. Over the years, he taught many Greek kids how to swim, play golf, fish, and more. If anyone came to town, Uncle Alan took them to Disney World. He was an avid golfer, scuba diver, and jack-of-all-trades. He loved Broadway musicals, singing all kinds of tunes, and films. He was a devoted sports fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams, with Green Bay as a close second. He lived for football season. Alan had such a pleasant personality, was generous to the core with a larger-than-life sense of humor and strong work ethic to be admired. He lived the American Dream and remains an inspiration to his family.

Alan is survived by his children Robin Vossetieg (Jeff) of Kemp, TX, Alan Johnson Jr (Marcia) of Milwaukee, Theodora (George) of Richmond, VA, and Constantine Johnson (Melissa) of Bradenton; brother Jan (Joan) Johnson; sisters Ruthann Brule and Linda Bury (Jim); grandchildren SueAnne Johnson of Dallas, Alexander Beale of Los Angeles, Savannah Beale of New York, Karina and Hayley Johnson of Milwaukee, Jacob Duhaime of Bradenton, and Ariana Miller of Richmond; great-grandchildren Zenai Jethroe and Zahna Young of Dallas; goddaughter Katina Ameres, as well as many beloved brothers-in law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews. 

Alan is preceded in death by his wife Soula, his parents, and his siblings JoAnn Freeck, Eric Johnson, and Heidi Hoover. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Parkinson’s Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research, or St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Sarasota.

Visitation and Trisagion Prayer Service will be held on Sunday, March 10, 4-6 p.m. at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home, 720 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton. Funeral Service will be held on Monday, March 11, 11 a.m. at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Sarasota, followed by interment at Mansion Memorial Park in Ellenton.

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4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sunday, March 10, 2024
Griffith-Cline Funeral Home
720 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, Florida, United States

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Monday, March 11, 2024
St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church
7671 Lockwood Ridge Rd
Sarasota, Florida, United States


Mansion Memorial Park
1400 36th Ave East
Ellenton, Florida, United States
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