In Remembrance Of My Friend, Allen Johansen By: Mark Mitchell, BASOM Executive Director

It’s been over a month since my friend Allen Johansen entered glory. I was privileged to be able to visit Allen in Spokane less than two weeks before he passed away. Since I will not be able to attend his memorial service, I’ll write a few things in remembrance.

Allen and I first met in 1986 when I began my tenure as a pastor at Central Peninsula Church (CPC). We remained friends for the next 37 years. The one word that captures who Allen was is “LOVE.” Allen LIKED a lot of things. He liked music. He played a mean bass guitar and had an epic vinyl record collection. He liked food and was never one to miss a meal. He liked being a Dentist, and was beloved by his patients. And he liked basketball, especially the Golden State Warriors. But none of those “likes” really defined Allen. Again, what defined him was love. Allen loved three things.

First, he loved Jesus Christ. He was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and somewhere along the line he embraced Jesus as his own Lord and Savior. Allen wasn’t religious. His faith wasn’t all about keeping the rules. It was all about grace. He never lost sight of the wonder of the riches of God’s grace. He never got over the fact that God loved him unconditionally, and it was this that defined how he lived out his faith.

Second, Allen loved his family. This started with his wife, Rosalee. He often said that besides the gift of salvation, Rosalee was the greatest gift God had given him. Allen truly cherished Rosalee. He also adored his three kids, Lauren, Michael and CJ. His face always brightened when he spoke of them. I remember when Michael and my daughter, Kim, went off to attend Whitworth College in Spokane how we’d swap stories of how their freshman year was going with Michael playing football and Kim playing soccer for the Bucs. Allen loved to talk about what all three of his kids were doing!

Finally, Allen loved the church. From the start of my time at CPC, he expressed this love through ongoing service. He played in the worship band, led small groups, mentored men, and went on mission trips. The two of us traveled to Cambodia to train pastors. Allen also served as an elder at CPC for almost 30 years. In fact, Allen and I became elders together, being the first to experience the famed “elderette” process instituted at CPC (the photo is of six of us elders at a Halloween party – we had fun too! Allen is top row, far right in his Travolta garb). The Bible says that when the Chief Shepherd (Jesus) appears faithful elders “will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:4). Allen was a faithful elder and I rejoice that he now wears that crown of glory!

Jesus told us that the way people will know we belong to Him is our love for one another. Allen Johansen LOVED well, and that LOVE endures into the eternal glory he now enjoys. I will miss my friend, Allen Johansen, but look forward to him greeting me on the other side.