LAKE JACKSON — When Johnnie Redden drives around the Brazosport area, he sees schools, fields and buildings named for his former teachers, administrators and colleagues.
Now, the Freeport High School class of 1948 graduate’s name will be among them as he is added to the Brazosport ISD Wall of Fame.
Redden was born in 1929 in Freeport, where his father worked for the Freeport Sulphur Co. During elementary school, he had Gladys Polk and Madge Griffith as teachers. Back then, it was a “project” to get from Freeport to Clute, and Lake Jackson hadn’t even been thought of, Redden said.
After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea and earning a degree from the University of Houston, Redden returned to begin teaching and coaching at Lake Jackson Junior High, where Grady Rasco was the principal. O.A. Fleming was superintendent then, he said.
He credits the influence of his teachers at Freeport High School and the athletic director he had, Herbert Eugene Hopper.
After two years of teaching junior high, he went on to become a football and head track coach at Brazosport High School, Redden said. He stayed until 1968, when he went into administration, and retired in 1990.
“It was very enjoyable,” he said, but added the first 13 years of being a teacher and coach were the most gratifying of his career.
That is when current Brazosport ISD Athletics Director Alan Weddell was a sophomore and had Redden as a coach, Weddell said.
“He was firm but fair; he was fun to be around,” Weddell said. “He’s a tremendous person.”
Redden made practice fun and developed players to be the best they could be, he said. Weddell attributes a lot of his success in football to that year, he said.
After retiring, Redden served in leadership positions with the Brazosport Association of Retired School Personnel and was part of the legislative push that led to the largest raise in the history of the Teacher Retirement System, according to a news release from the district.
Along with his 35-year education career, he taught math courses sponsored by the Dow Chemical Co. to men in industry, served as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels within First Baptist Church of Lake Jackson and served in many other community organizations.
All of this earned him a place on the Wall of Fame, to which Redden was inducted at Brazosport’s football game Friday at Hopper Field.
“I was surprised,” Redden said of learning he would be on the Wall of Fame. “And, of course, I feel very honored to have my name alongside other names who have done so much more.”
But Weddell said the recognition is long overdue.
“I was smiling from ear to ear,” Weddell said. “I don’t think they could’ve picked a better one.”
Redden has touched the lives of so many people, as a coach, as a teacher and as an administrator in the district, Weddell said.
“He’s made an impact on so many people,” he said.
Weddell sees Redden sitting in the middle aisle of church every Sunday, and said he lives up to the creed. He’s a great family man and has raised a great family, Weddell said.
His son, Ron Redden, is an assistant superintendent for Brazosport ISD.
“The words that come to mind of all other words are integrity, honor and respect,” Ron Redden said of his father. “He is very highly respected. He has a servant’s heart and puts the needs of others above himself.”
He added his 90-year-old father is extremely intelligent and “very, very sharp.” He is very deserving of it and Ron Redden is glad to see Johnnie Redden recognized, he said.
“You couldn’t ask for a better person,” Weddell said.