Ove Claes Johansson

Ove Claes Johansson
Ove Claes Johansson

Ove Claes Johansson, 75, of Amarillo, TX was welcomed peacefully into heaven on September 30, 2023. His arrival was marked by a fantastic Texas sunrise.


Celebration of Life Services will be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, October 12th, 2023, in the Chapel at Central Church of Christ with Executive Minister Greg Dowell officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors.


Ove Claes Johansson
Ove Claes Johansson

Ove was born in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 31, 1948, to John and Britt Johansson. An inherently gifted athlete and professional soccer player in his native Sweden, Ove was encouraged by his father to immigrate to the United States. During his time in the Swedish Navy, a friend invited him to play soccer in the US and help initiate a soccer program in Dallas, TX. This invitation not only opened the door for Ove’s American dream but for an epic romance. Ove had been playing soccer with a European Exhibition team in the US for months, but an October 1972 match in Irving, Texas became the game-changer. At halftime, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Swede found himself distracted by a girl in the stands: April Lark Bankes. Barely able to speak English, he asked for her phone number. Through a series of serendipitous circumstances, the two found themselves attending Abilene Christian University where Ove graduated in 1977 with a B.S.Ed. degree. They married on August 6, 1976. Two months later on October 16, 1976, Ove kicked a world record setting 69-yard field goal at the Homecoming game between Abilene Christian and East Texas State, a record that still stands. Ove then became the oldest player ever drafted into the NFL at 28 years old, where he kicked for the Houston Oilers, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Dallas Cowboys. Following his stint in the NFL, Ove and April moved to Amarillo where Ove eventually began Johansson & Associates Financial Services. In 2001, he kicked yet another record setting field goal at 53 years old: a 53-yard field goal at the ACU Homecoming game, this time with his children present. On May 28, 2005, he was inducted into the ACU Centennial Hall of Fame. Ove was a proud and courageous Swedish American and a loyal and loving family man. He loved a well-timed joke and was an adept accordion player. In all things, Ove led with love and took great pride in encouraging those around him. His one-of-a-kind personality, gentle spirit, and tender heart will be deeply missed by those he leaves behind.


Ove was preceded in death by parents, John and Britt Johansson, and mother-in-law, Maxine Bankes. He is survived by his “other swan”, April Lark Johansson, daughter Annika Spalding and her husband Brett of Amarillo, son Stefan Johansson and Monica Mosier of Cheyenne, WY, his beloved grandchildren Olivia and Stellan Spalding, brother Robert Johansson, father-in-law Russell Bankes of Corsicana, TX, brother-in-law Mark Bankes of Dickson, TN, and extended family both here and abroad who loved and adored him.


Memorials may be made to The Salvation Army of Amarillo, High Plains Children’s Home, or Christian Relief Fund.

To read an in-depth tribute of Ove’s football career by Abilene Christian University, click here:

ACU Remembers: Ove Johansson


29 Replies to “Ove Claes Johansson”

  1. I followed his story over the years and it sounded like he was a great guy and built a good life in Texas. I had no idea he passed.
    I am just a few months older. Anyhow I wish you and his descendants well.

  2. April and family,
    I am so saddened by the loss of Ove. He was such a joy every 4 months when I saw him in the office. I always scheduled an extra 10 minutes with him. FIrst of all just to listen to his accent and secondly for him to catch me up with his family. He was always so happy and full of life. He will truly be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. May you all find peace in comfort in your memories of Ove.

    1. Thank you Robyn. He always enjoyed his visits with you and solving all of the world’s problems including finding out your husband’s secrets to your beautiful lawn.

      Ove’s enthusiasm and gratitude is something I’ll carry with me the rest of my life.💕🇸🇪 April

  3. David and I are so very sad over Oves’ passing. He was a true force and loved by all who knew him. Not only will he be sorely missed by all of you, but Amarillo looses his wonderful personality and presence, as well. We are sending prayers for all of you here as well as in Sweden. May he rest in peace!

    1. He loved you both Mary Jane. Thank you for your encouragement and beautiful sentiments of Ove and for remembering our family in Sweden as well.
      Thank you for attending the service. Ove was loving that, I’m sure.
      Love, April

  4. April, I just learned of Ove’s passing over the weekend. I am so sorry you and your family are suffering this loss. I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that his remarkable life touched so many people. You were so kind to me and my kids at Terry’s passing – I hope that kindness is returned to you 100 fold during this time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you Nancy. Loss is so hard. The price of loving deeply is grieving deeply. I’m so proud of Ove and how he touched people in such a positive way. Your encouraging words lift me up and thank you for your prayers. They are sustaining me. 💕🇸🇪

    2. Nancy, thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. We go way back and I so appreciate your kind words.
      April 💕🇸🇪

  5. April, I just found out that Ove passed. I’m so sorry for your loss! I always enjoyed talking with Ove when we officed in the same building. He would come by and talk about hockey and talk about life. He was always such a positive person and I enjoyed taking the time to talk to him. He was an amazing and great person. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.

    1. Thank you Ricky. He was a positive life force and always mentioned how much he enjoyed visiting with you. I really appreciate your prayers and for reaching out. Thank you so much.💕🇸🇪

  6. April, we are so sorry for your loss. Ove was an amazing man. He has impacted many with his passion for life & love for Jesus. Our family was one that was blessed with his impact. We love you. I am so sad that I cannot be at the celebration of life. I had a precious trip planned. Please know, you are in our heart, thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you Susan. We have many wonderful memories that include your extraordinary family. Thank you for your description of Ove and your encouragement and prayers.💕🇸🇪

  7. I am so very sorry for your loss. Ove exuded optimism and a loving spirit. I am so grateful to have known him. You are on my heart and in my prayers.
    Carol Lovelady

    1. Thank you Carol! I’ll be missing him the rest of my life. But I’m so grateful for the life we built together with so many adventures and so much joy and love.
      Thank you for your prayers and support.

  8. We are so saddened by the loss of a wonderful man.He worked with my son to teach him how to kick goals.So kind and positive.A fellow ACU grad ,I am grateful to have spent time with him.Our prayers for his family…we loved him.He will enjoy heaven❤️ Dr. and Mrs.Richard High

    1. Thank you Richard. I remember those kicking mentoring days. I also remember that Ove bought me a homecoming mum from your parents floral shop right before he kicked the record field goal at ACU’s Homecoming. After the jubilation during the game, all that was left of the mum was the plastic stick holding it together. Thank you for reminding me of those days.😊🇸🇪

  9. April and family, what a wonderful man! Gene and I thought so much of him! We have you all in our thoughts and prayers.

  10. April, this is such a lovely, inspiring portrait of Ove! He will greatly missed and will leave a big hole not only in your family but Central’s family as well! Our Lord knows your sorrow and pain and I pray His Spirit of comfort upon you, Anika, and Stefan. God bless you today and in the coming days and weeks.

    1. Thank you Lanny for your sweet support and encouragement. You and Gina are very special to us.💕🇸🇪

  11. Since we spoke last weekend, you’ve been on my mind and in my prayers. Ove and Ron Willingham are having a great time catching up. Ben and I will see you next week!

    Love you,

    1. Thank you Robin. Your family and ours have a deep connection. We loved Ron and Beverly and look forward to seeing you and Ben.💕🇸🇪

  12. April, I am so very sorry for your loss my friend. My deepest condolences. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
    Gladys Maiwald ( Whitney Russell Printing )

    1. Gladys, you always lift me up when I see you. Thank you for your prayers for my family. It means so much to me.💕🇸🇪

    2. Dear April, Annika and Stefan,
      Our Family is so sad to hear this news. You were such wonderful neighbors. And the kids still talk about the “Beloved Swedish Santa”
      One thing that you can rest assured of is that he will be waiting for you in Paradise with that Big Beautiful Smile of his.
      Sending Hugs, Love, and Peace.
      Blessed Be~
      Rodney, Patti, Jonathon, Trey & Monica Thompson

      1. Patti, thank you for sharing the memories when we were neighbors. Those were some wonderful times when the kids were growing up. Swedish Santa “Tomten” brought some authentic, Swedish joy. Your prayers are so appreciated and description of Paradise so beautiful.. Love to all of you.💕🇸🇪

  13. April, I was so sad when I got back to work and I seen where he passed 😢 my prayers go out to you and your family 🙏 ❤️

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