Henry “Old Pumper” Johnson

It is with a sad heart that I have to relay the news that the “Old Pumper” has pumped his last system and has departed this earth as we know it. Henry Johnson was a TRUE FRIEND to me and to AALSO, he will be missed.

Henry was enjoying life as a retired Pump Mechanic and Navy Master Chief should; riding motorcycles, hunting in Texas and Florida, hanging out at the VFW and visiting with family and friends as often as he could. It was while he pursued one of these past-times that he loved, riding his bike with friends, that Henry met his fate. We will never know what truly happened that day, not that it matters, all we know is that the Henry Johnson we all knew and loved, left us that fateful Sunday evening.

I met Henry more than a decade ago when I started in Water Quality for Busch Gardens Tampa. He was a man who could make you shake in your boots if he needed to get his point across or he could just as easily laugh and joke with you. I quickly got to know him as a man with a passion for what he did. Henry held this same passion for everything and everyone he cared about, this is what I will miss the most. He taught me about pumps and seals in much the same fashion he taught everyone else, with a smile on his face and a booming voice as steady and strong as the Master Chief he was. He was always willing to help someone understand what he knew and what he did. He was always there for you if you called on him, always! I am sure all of his friends at SeaWorld and elsewhere will agree with me on that one. We will miss the years of knowledge and experience that he readily passed on to his fellow Operators. We will miss the Old Pumper.

Henry was a true leader among men. He is considered a founding force in AALSO and he was an Officer for 8 years, 5 as Treasurer and 3 as President. We saw amazing growth in AALSO during those times, growth that we have continued to build upon even today. I can not believe we will have an AALSO Symposium without his booming voice singing out ”Alright People, Listen up y’all, time to head back to class! Let’s go People!” No-one could move a crowd like Henry, no-one.

Henry understood what AALSO was all about and he championed AALSO to all that would listen. The idea of helping his fellow Operator understand how to do their job better, whether they worked with you or for the competition, is where I think Henry excelled. He understood it was the animals in our care that were crucial and politics be damned. I know many equipment, pump and seal manufacturers that will attest to that. If you had a good product he let you know, if you had a good product that needed work, he let you know, and if you had a product he thought was not worth his time and effort, he let you know as well. That was Henry.

I can think of no better tribute to the Old Pumper from AALSO than to perpetuate his understanding of what AALSO was all about. To this end, the AALSO Board is starting a fund in Henry’s name to sponsor attendees to AALSO’s Symposiums. We are starting this fund off with an initial $5000 donation and will match the first $10,000 donated dollar for dollar. All funds accumulated will be used to sponsor people and organizations to attend AALSO Symposiums. He knew this is where they will gain from the wealth of knowledge that he so loved to share.

If you would like to participate in this tribute to Henry “Old Pumper” Johnson please send your checks to the AALSO PO Box marked for the Old Pumper Memorial Fund. If you would like to use a credit card, please use the PayPal links below. All funds collected will be used to memorialize one of the true leaders of AALSO and to the Aquatic Life industry.

We will sorely miss you Henry, life must go on but you will be missed!

Thank You
George Tenhagen
Henry’s Friend and AALSO President




Memorial Services for Henry “Old Pumper” Johnson
03/06/43 – 03/09/10

Henery Johnson

A celebration of Henry’s life will be held at Life Point Community Church
1747 W. New York Ave
Deland, FL 32720
Saturday, March 20, 2010
11:00 A.M.