Remembering coach Kak Johnson - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Remembering coach Kak Johnson


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Dozens of community members are mourning the loss of a Rochester woman with ties to many parts of the city. Kak Johnson passed away overnight Wednesday at the age of 82.

Whether it was coaching sports teams at Mayo High School...

"She certainly was instrumental in the starting and success of girl's sports program in Rochester," said Kerwin Engelhart, a longtime friend and co-worker. "She has a very strong legacy. She just did a wonderful job."

Johnson coached the very first girl's volleyball team to make it to state from Rochester in 1974.

"She was a very energetic person, always very positive," said Jeff Whitney, Mayo High School Athletic Director. "It's not out of the ordinary to see why she had girls magnetically drawn to a program."

Or dedicating herself to the Ronald McDonald House...

"Was Kak hands on? said Linda Bonow, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House. "Kak's hands were just everywhere and with love and encouragement and support, always."

Kak Johnson left an impression.

"Kak was just here on Monday and that's how people will remember her, that smile, that helping hand," Bonow said.

"She was involved at the ground level and very positive and always very fun to work with," Whitney said.

Even about 70 years ago her spirit stood out from the crowd.

Engelhart said Kak "was a zippy young girl and was a nice role model even for her friends in high school and you can see how this carried over for later in life."

As the community together suffers the loss, 

"All day long we have had a smile on our face and a tear in our eye and we have just really enjoyed walking down memory lane and telling Kak's stories," Bonow said.

There's room to focus on what she's left behind.

"Her inspiration lies in each one of us. Kak was known to say 'When your mind is filled with indecision, think with your heart.'"

There's no word yet on what may have caused her death. Friends tell us that she hadn't been feeling very well recently but there was no indication it was so serious.

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