It was our common interest in books and reading that resulted in our acquaintance. As teenagers we both, beginning in 1967, worked part time evenings and Saturdays at Södertälje Public Library, where we soon discovered that we studied at he same school. Our friendship deepened as we both in different ways were outsiders. Kjell had a very poor health since childhood, a.o. severe asthma and had been heavily medicated, which was probably the reason he stopped growing when quite young. Being very short and different from his classmates he was the constant victim of both verbal and physical bullying and abuse at school. We spent much time together and soon discovered a common interest in spiritual searching and mysteries.
Kjell Jonsson May 1968
Fun times working at Södertälje Public Library 1969
Walking home from library work, Spring 1970
Celebrating New Year´s Eve together 1970
As a young teenager I had read all the UFO books found in my parents library and when I introduced Kjell to these books he immediately became intensely fascinated by the subject and entered a subscription to Flying Saucer Review. In 1970 we contacted UFO organizations active at the time which resulted in our founding a local UFO group, UFO-Södertälje, later Södertälje UFO-Center. We were of course naive and idealistic and spent many evenings skywatching and waiting for the space people to appear in their craft.
Ready for a bookshop tour to Stockholm August 29, 1971
Skywatching with members of UFO-Södertälje May 1971
When our UFO interest became more realistic and research oriented we founded an informal working group Arbetsgruppen för ufologi (AFU), later Archives for UFO Research, together with UFO colleague Anders Liljegren, Norrköping. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, The man who created AFU, it was Kjell who in 1974 came up with the idea of building a UFO lending library. Practically as a one man enterprice he maintained and expanded the collections until the AFU was instead located at Norrköping.
Kjell working with his Swedish UFO bibliography at my apartment June 1976
One of our many discussions of his UFO bibliography
The first two AFU bookshelves August 1977
The first AFU librarian October 22, 1977
In the 1980s Kjell´s health problems worsened and he died on April 30, 1986, only 34 years old, caused by a heavy fit of asthma. His short life was in many respects an incarnation of suffering, poor health, pain and loneliness. In spite of all these hardships he was an idealist, caring, cheerful and full of good spirit. A great and beautiful soul in a miserable body. Kjell was a pioneer who made the AFU venture more than a dream. I cherish and honour the memory of my dear old friend and hope we will meet again.
July 30, 1978