Leon A. Johnson, 90

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Leon A. Johnson, 90, of Austin, died Monday, April 16, 2012, at Our House Assisted Living in Austin. Leon was born Sept. 5, 1921, in Watertown, S.D., to Ferdinand and Ella (Vogt) Johnson.

Leon Johnson

After graduating from Watertown High School, he served in the Army during World War II in the European Theatre of Operation. Returning home in 1945, he married Twilamae F. Roesch on July 28, 1945, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Leon attended college at South Dakota State University in Brookings, graduating in 1952 with a degree in civil engineering and an interest in the fields of sanitation and environment. He worked for the City of Albert Lea and then moved to Austin, where he worked for the city until retirement. The increasing interest in the environment during this period made his job very interesting and challenging. A member of the First Congregational Church in Austin, Leon helped there with maintenance. Leon and Twila both enjoyed the outdoors and nature activities. They spent their winter months along the Gulf Coast of Texas, walking the beach, looking for shells, and checking out the area for birds. They belonged to organizations that promote improving the environment, such as Audubon, Izaak Walton League, and Friends of the Hormel Nature Center. Traveling was a passion of theirs. They attended 14 Elderhostels across the United States. Their greatest enjoyment was working in Yellowstone Park for two summers after retirement. Among working, they spent time in Yellowstone, fishing, hiking, and meeting a lot of different people. Leon and Twila shared a good life, always remaining thankful for the 56 years they spent together. Twilamae and Leon always felt they owed so much to South Dakota State for giving Leon the opportunity to further his education and earn a degree.

Survivors include two daughters, Nancy (Bruce) Jahnke of New Brighton, Minn., and Leanne (David) Kasper of Rushford, Minn.; four grandchildren, Jessica Kasper, Scott (Kylene Abbitt) Jahnke, Ross (Megan) Jahnke, Kate (Matt Frost) Jahnke; sister in law, Mae Johnson; brothers-in-law, Gerald Roesch and Dwight (Alta) Roesch; many nieces, nephews, other relatives.

Email newsletter signup

He was preceded in death by his wife, Twilamae, on Oct. 14, 2001; parents, Ferdinand and Ella; four brothers, Harvey, Dale, Merle, and Merlen; one great-granddaughter, Anastasia Kasper.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, April 20, 2012, at the First Congregational Church in Austin with Pastor Shari Mason officiating. Visitation will be an hour before the service at the church. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery with military honors by American Legion Post 91. The family prefers that memorials be made to the Hormel Nature Center or the Austin Izaak Walton League. Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.worlein.com.