They were standing side by side again recently, at halftime of the first home football game of the year, when both Dick and Loriann were inducted to the Gobles Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame. Their plaques will now hang side by side in the hall of fame display for generations to come.
Loriann was inducted in recognition of her outstanding coaching career with the Gobles High School cheer program. After graduating from Gobles in 1987, Loriann began coaching, and over the years built the program into one of the outstanding small-school cheer programs in The State of Michigan. Multiple times Loriann’s teams won Michigan regional competitions in both MCCA sideline and MHSAA competitive cheer and finished among the top six teams in state championship competitions.
Additionally, many of Loriann's former cheerleaders went on to cheer in college and have even become coaches themselves. Current Gobles High School and middle school cheer coaches Brittany Duchesneau and Melinda Poffenberger were part of Loriann’s teams and carry on the excellent cheer program established during her hall of fame career.
Dick Johnson was inducted in recognition of the fact he has been a fixture in Gobles athletic programs for more than five decades. Dick participated in Gobles athletics until his graduation in 1965, then after serving the United States in the Vietnam War returned to Gobles to settle down and raise his family with wife Carol (Livock) Johnson.
In 1979 Dick volunteered to serve as the school mascot for football games, and fashioned himself as a mascot after the famous San Diego Chicken. His enthusiasm and antics were a favorite part of games for Gobles fans, and he wore the tiger suit at the three state championship games (1984, 2000, and 2001). After finishing his career as mascot, Dick became the volunteer football videographer, and for twelve years now has recorded Gobles football games, home or away, in any kind of weather.
When Dick was notified of his induction, he wondered why he would be chosen for the honor. In true Dick Johnson fashion, he first thought of others, especially his family.
“My greatest contribution to Gobles athletics has been my family,” he said. “My wife Carol and I have contributed two kids and six grandkids to the school, all of whom are proud, successful Gobles Tigers. That’s my greatest honor.”
And now that honor is permanently on display for all to see, once again right next to his daughter, in the athletic hall of fame.
Dick’s son Brian (Class of 1989) is a former athlete and long-time coach in Gobles, and currently a member of the Gobles varsity football coaching staff. Dick’s six grandchildren have all been active participants in Gobles athletic and academic programs. Dick’s wife Carol was inducted into the Gobles Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.