Leland L. "Lee" Johnson, 88, died June 23 near Bay Lake. He was born Sept. 23, 1917, in Wadena, and graduated from Wadena High School in 1935, and then attended the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the football squad and the Phi Delta ...
Leland L. "Lee" Johnson, 88, died June 23 near Bay Lake.
He was born Sept. 23, 1917, in Wadena, and graduated from Wadena High School in 1935, and then attended the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the football squad and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He graduated in 1940 with a B.S. degree. He entered the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet, earning his wings in 1941. He was appointed chief flight instructor at the naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., and in 1943 assumed duties as squadron commander on the USS Independence as well as several other carriers in the Pacific. He was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two air medals and numerous citations. After release from active duty in 1945, he was instrumental in organizing the Weekend Warriors program at the Naval Air Station at World Chamberlain field and was commanding officer of several squadrons there. He retired with the rank of captain, USNR, in 1977. His business career culminated at Brown Steel Tank Company, where he served for 26 years, the last 11 as president. He retired in 1978. From his early years in Wadena onward, he was active in numerous school, business and community organizations. He was president of the "M" club, the Upper Midwest Oilmen's Club and the Bay Lake Improvement Association. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed to the fullest hunting, fishing, golf and snowmobiling.
A memorial service was held Friday, July 7.
Survivors include his children, Bruce (Sandy) and Jane (Phillip) Rollins; grandchildren, Tara and Andrew Johnson, Carrie (Craig) Davis and great granddaughter, Erin.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; his parents, Chester and Lillian; and brothers, Russell and Cassell.