Night manager mourned

Adriane Hardin

Kimberly Sowders began working in Downing University Center in 1990; that was when Jerry Johnson hired her to tend the information desk and billiards and bowling.

Fourteen years later she is still working in DUC – but she is now mourning Johnson, 61, who died in Louisville on Monday, March 22.

Johnson endured a long battle with a rare genetic liver disease that resulted in both liver and kidney transplants.

Johnson is survived by his mother Helen Johnson, sister Linda Johnson, brother Kenneth Johnson and sister-in-law Janice Johnson.

He worked for 22 years as a night operations manager at DUC.

Lee Murray served as director while Johnson was night manager and said he was a “great, great person.”

“He got along with everyone and he loved his work,” Murray said.

Johnson always came in early and left late, Murray said.

Even when the disease began to take its toll and Johnson found himself getting very sick, he always managed to find his way back to work, Sowders said.

“He was bound and determined to come back,” Sowders said. “He would even say in the hospital, ‘I’ll be back in a week.’ He came in sick, not sick. He was always here.”

He would always help students in any way he could, Sowders said.

“If he knew somebody needed a meal he would either give them money or give them his Big Red card,” she said.

He also drove Sowders to Louisville after she lost her license because of seizures.

Johnson also ran movie night in DUC theater said Scott Taylor, director of university centers and leadership programs.

The Louisville native was a graduate of Western and Louisville Male High School. He was also an Army veteran.

His funeral was held March 25 at Evergreen Funeral home in Louisville.

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]