Milton Johnson was born August 21, 1949 to Lovie Mae (Chestnut) and William Johnson. He was born in Temple, Texas. His family moved to Arizona in the early 1950s and settled in Phoenix where he was raised.
Milt is survived by his wife of 52 years, Krista, their sons, Milton (Yvette) and Erik (Shalon), daughter Alysa, and stepdaughter Tracy (Jim), thirteen grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
Milt was the youngest of 16 children.
He is survived by two sisters, Bernice Brown and Willie Mae Richmond, and two brothers, Theorda Johnson Sr (Baslisa) and Vernon Johnson (Pam), and brother-in-law, Tom Errickson, as well as a host of nieces and nephews and extended family.
Services were held October 24, 2021 at The Church at South Mountain.
“Big Milt” Johnson- Early years
Milton Johnson was born in Temple, Texas (Bell County) in 1949. He was the baby of the family- the youngest of 16 children. When he was a toddler his family moved to Arizona. They first settled in Casa Grande and later moved to Phoenix, where Milt would grow up.
He attended Palmdale Elementary School and Percy Julian Middle School in the Roosevelt District. He then went on to attend South Mountain High School, where he was an outstanding four-year letterman in athletics. His passion was football and track and field. Milt held the school record for shot put for 22 years, until it was later broken by his son Erik. In 1967, Milt’s senior year, his track team won the Arizona State Championship. The school trophy is displayed in his home.
Milt then went on to accept a scholarship to play football at Phoenix College from 1967-68. While at PC, his team played for the National Junior College title in Savannah, GA. In high school and at PC, he was named to state and national All-Star teams. He then went on to play football at Idaho State University and then with the Phoenix Blazers (a semi-professional football team). After three seasons with the Blazers, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings for a season in the NFL.
In 1968 Milt met the true love of his life, Krista Errickson, while both were students at Phoenix College. They went on to get married in Phoenix in 1969 and welcomed their first child, a son, Milton Jr. later that year. In 1971 their son Erik was born. In 1980 Krista and Milt adopted their beloved daughter Alysa. As big and tough as Milt was, he was always wrapped around her finger. They were inseparable. She was a Daddy's Girl. A few years later reuniting with the family was Krista's daughter Tracy.
Milt worked for the Smitty’s grocery chain for over 20 years as a stocker and then a truck driver. Krista, Milt Jr, Erik and Tracy also worked for Smitty’s. It was a family affair. He later drove a big rig for Southwest Freeport.
He continued to be an avid sports fan throughout his years. When his kids were young he coached them in football and track. He also coached many of his nephews and neighbor kids throughout the years. He was a role model and father figure to many. Big Milt was admired and looked up to by many in his community. He continued to support his family throughout his years. He never missed their precious moments: sporting events, graduations, weddings, birth of grandkids and great grandkids.
Milt had a big heart. He and Krista were always willing to help others in need. Their house was always open when you needed a friend, or a place to stay. To his kids and many of his nephews and nieces he was a father figure, a role model, and a hero.
He was a great storyteller and was always making someone laugh. He so loved his brothers and sisters and loved spending time with them whenever he could, sometimes until the sun came up the next day. They were always protective of their ‘baby brother’.
He had many lifelong friends, from his football days, jobs, coaching and community. Everyone knew “Big Milt”. In his last days, he had many visitors from far and wide, who came to reminisce with him and recount the memories they had made together.
Milt and Krista enjoyed traveling and sailing and spending time with friends and family. The most fulfilling day of his life was Memorial Day of 2014. He committed his life to Christ and is now in the presence of the Lord for eternity
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