Faces of the Valley – Jim Johnson

This week's Faces of the Valley is about Jim Johnson, who returned home to Fernie in 2006.

  • Aug. 25, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Jim Johnson doing what he loves most - fishing.

Jim Johnson was born in 1959 in Lethbridge, Alta. He is the oldest of four in his family, with two sisters, Sandra and Allison, and a younger brother, Bill. His parents, Bud and Betty Johnson, moved to Fernie when he was in the seventh grade, as it was Betty’s hometown and they had lots of family in the area.

Bud worked as a truck driver for a logging company while his mother was a substitute teacher. Jim remembers a childhood spent outdoors, roaming the woods surrounding Fernie.

“Where we used to hang out in the trees and have our bush parties, there are now houses,” he says.

Jim was an avid skier growing up, and loved anything outdoors, such as fishing and hunting. It is a passion he still has today.

Jim graduated from Fernie Secondary School, then located where 901 Fernie currently stands, in 1977. He left Fernie after graduation, and moved to a variety of cities, including Vancouver, Lethbridge and Lloydminster, where he worked in the oil industry. He moved into the auto industry, working at dealerships before settling in the central Alberta area, around Lacombe. Jim, then a father of three, met Loretta at a dance in the early 1990s. The two have now been married for 21 years and together have one son, Riley.

In 2006, a business opportunity presented itself to Jim and Loretta, to manage the Ford dealership in Fernie. They took the opportunity and Jim moved back to Fernie on December 24, 2006.

“We started unloading furniture in a major snowstorm,” he remembers.

They recently got out of the car industry, leaving Fernie Ford in the spring of 2015. In September, they opened Kootenay Sign Source, moving the business from Sparwood to Fernie. Jim says he and Loretta try to give back to the community whenever possible and support a number of community initiatives. They have donated all of the signs for the Eirin Amundsen Memorial Pavilion, among other community causes.

Jim also says they enjoy the slower pace of their new business, and are able to have more time to enjoy their hobbies.

As for his hobbies, Jim is an avid fisherman, who spends his vacations with a rod in his hand. He has a “bucket list” of fish he would like to catch, and travels to tropical locations to look for the fish. Some of his notable catches include a 300 lb blue marlin in Hawaii and 100 lb sailfish in Mexico. He has also caught a sturgeon and is venturing to the Fraser River in the fall to attempt to catch another. For the most part, Jim likes to catch and release. To him, it’s more about the hunt than the reward.

While Jim also enjoys golf, he knows where his strengths are.

“I’m way better of a fisherman than a golfer,” he says, adding he fishes year round, and can be found ice fishing in the dead of winter.

After returning to his hometown in 2006, he says the town has gone through noticeable changes; most prominently, the development and the tourism industry.

“When we went fishing on the river, we wouldn’t see anyone else,” he says, citing his youth. There is one element of his childhood that is still embedded in the tapestry of Fernie – the love of the outdoors.

“I think it’s a big part of the life around here,” he says.

His love of the outdoors and fishing, along with his roots in Fernie, make Jim a “natural” choice for this week’s “Face of the Valley.”

 

Just Posted

City of Fernie gets curlers back on the ice

City, Fernie Curling Club to share cost of $95,000 refrigeration mats to address leaks

Fernie outdoor rink to open December 17

City approves user fees for private rental of Outdoor Community Rink

Huge snowstorm headed for Elk Valley

Mainroad issues weather event advisory with up to 25cm expected over the next 24 hours

Fernie fatbiking season in full swing

Riders hit the trails on Global Fatbike Day

Fernie man receives federal fire service medal

Kim Sedrovic is retiring from Fernie Fire Rescue after 25 years with the service

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Most Read