Remembering Sue Johnson
by Denise Shively, USA Artistic Swimming Board President
Sue Albrecht Johnson passed away quietly at her home in Manhattan Beach, CA, on Jan. 30. Former USA Artistic Swimming scoring chair, Sue served as chief recorder for the sport at seven Olympic Games, many FINA World Championships, Pan American Games and additional international competitions. Her commitment to the sport and to excellent scoring practices have been recognized with a USA Synchronized Swimming Hall of Fame Contributor Award, the ISHOF Paragon Award and the FINA Certificate of Merit.
“Sue is well loved in artistic swimming circles around the world for not only her mathematical knowledge and skill set, but her ability to make friends and be a welcoming ambassador on behalf of our sport,” said Denise Shively, USAAS president. “She was a teacher and mentor for me when I needed to know more about not only scoring, but also the international arena. She built relationships on behalf of our sport and federation.”
In addition, Sue was a scoring official for golf in charge of Scoring Central for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, and U.S. Senior Open Golf Championships each year, as well as several other PGA Tour Events.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 11, 1949, Sue received a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University (OH) and a master’s degree from Kent State University (OH). She was a beloved middle school math teacher for 25 years in the Cleveland area. As an avid puzzle solver and developer, Sue tried to incorporate many types of puzzles into her daily classroom activities. She received Teacher of the Year awards from both the Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Besides presenting several workshops in the United States, she also shared her knowledge and excitement of teaching with educators in Ecuador, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Australia.
The 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles introduced Sue Albrecht to Harry Johnson who was the technology venue manager for aquatic sports. They married in 1996 and Harry became a regular attendee at artistic swimming events until his death in 2014. Sue considered his daughter, Cindy Braden (Santa Barbara, CA), her children and their families as her own. Along with Cindy, Sue is survived by Brittany and Zack Paris, their new son Calvin, and Christopher and Savannah Braden. Sue is survived by her three younger siblings: Barb Hocking (Scott, Greenville, SC), Sally Albrecht (Jay Althouse, Raleigh, NC), and Bill Albrecht (Kathleen, Neenah, WI), along with a quartet of nieces and nephews, and a quintet of their offspring.
Music was always another of Sue’s loves. Besides always singing faithfully in her church and school choirs, Sue sang with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for 18 years. She was also the proud author of two popular reproducible music puzzle books: Music Fun 101 and Music Puzzler, both published by Alfred Music.
“We were fortunate to often have Sue who briefly left the scoring room to lead us in the national anthem at various championships,” said Denise. “Her joy was always apparent whether it was singing the Star-Spangled Banner, interacting with coaches and officials at competitions, or encouraging our athletes to swim their best. She will be missed.”
You can read Sue's International Swimming Hall of Fame (2013) biography HERE. Additionally, donations in memory of Sue Johnson can be made to the USAAS Foundation HERE.