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Dale Johnson, key to securing ambulance for Manteca, dies
Dale Johnson
This photo taken in 2014 shows Dale Johnson with his beloved Pat.

Dale Johnson — a man whose efforts helped save the lives of many in the greater Manteca community — has passed away. 

He died Monday at the age of 97.

Johnson was chairman of the Manteca Junior Chamber of Commerce committee that bought the community’s first ambulance that led to the founding of the Manteca District Ambulance.

He also served as coordinator for more than a decade for the Manteca Community Blood Drive.

Johnson owned his own photography studio for 45 years in downtown Manteca where Rocky Mountain Chocolate is now located.

“Dale was a dedicated family man and was dedicated to the community,” noted Glenn Kahl who operated his own photography studio for years directly across Yosemite Avenue from Johnson’s Photography Studio.

Johnson in 1950 spearheaded the Manteca Jaycees campaign to “Bring an Ambulance to Manteca”. At the time the closest ambulance was stationed at the county hospital in French Camp. That meant people involved in a traffic accident or who suffered a heart attack would sometimes have to wait as long as an hour for an ambulance to arrive. After the initial Manteca hospital that was built in response to the 1918 Flu Pandemic closed a year after opening, Manteca did not have a hospital until 1962.

The effort netted $3,500 from Manteca residents at downtown corner booths by the selling of family ambulance memberships for $3. The $3 provided one free rode in the ambulance to the hospital.

 Johnson served on the Manteca District Ambulance Board for more than 40 years. A room at the ambulance headquarters on Center Street is named in his honor.

Johnson also served on the Manteca Planning Commission, the Manteca Chamber of Commerce board, and had a hands-on role for years at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. He was in charge of maintenance and building projects at the Manteca Historical Society Museum for a number of years. He also served on numerous business and cultural boards.

Johnson became interested in photography while a student at Avenal High in Kings County. After graduating from Avenal High he attended the Coalinga extension campus of Fresno State College.

When the United States entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Johnson left college and joined the Navy and eventually became a Seaman First Class.

Johnson met his beloved future wife Pat at a USO Club during World War II.

Pat passed away in 2018 at age 92.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email