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James Leon Johnston

James Leon Johnston 

James Leon Johnston - Veteran of World War II

This is my dad, James Leon Johnston. The picture of him and his wife Eletha at the bottom of this page was taken in May of 1994, about 2 months before he passed away.

He was born on August 9, 1921 in Western Grove, Arkansas, but he grew up mostly in southern Oklahoma. His dad became a minister when Leon was about 12 years old. In later years the family moved to many different states, California, New Mexico, Arizona, to name a few.

He was inducted into the Army on August 13, 1942, four days after his 21st birthday. He was living in Loving, New Mexico at the time. He went into active service August 26, 1942 at Fort Bliss Texas.

He served as a Tech 5 in the 67 Engr Topo Company. He was a Light Truck Driver (#345). 

He served in New Guinea, Southern Philippines (Liberation) Luzon, where he contracted Malaria. He talked about being in Germany and had a picture of a run way with cracks in it from all the bombings.

He wasn't one to talk much about his time in the service, but he did tell me once about having to drive in the dark of night with no lights, so the enemy wouldn't see them. He had to look out the side window to see where the edge of the road was so they wouldn't drive into the ravines which were on either side of the road.

He received  a Victory Medal for his part in the American Theater, Asiatic Theater, Philippines Liberation. He wasn't wasn't wounded in action, thanks to God.

He was honorably discharged on December 2, 1945 at Fort Bliss, Texas. He served 3 years, 3 months, and 20 days. After being discharged he moved to Stuart Oklahoma, which is in Pittsburgh County.

I don't know how many places he lived after being discharged, but he was living in San Francisco, California in 1949, when he traveled to Wilcox, Arizona to visit his parents and sister. That is where he met and married his wife, Eletha Hinds Johnston, on July 21, 1949.

Leon and his wife moved to Phoenix, Arizona for a while and that's where their first child, Larry, was born. Later they moved back to Willcox and stayed until September of 1952. Eletha's parents moved back to Oklahoma in 1951 and Eletha wanted to see her family. She grew up around Inola, Oklahoma. Leon said if they went to Oklahoma, if wouldn't be for a visit. They would move permanently. They loaded up their stuff and moved to Claremore.

His family had grown to include two daughters, Connie and Marlene. He lived in and around Claremore for the next 42 years. He was an auto mechanic and owned his own shop for several years.

Leon died on July 30, 1994 in the Claremore Regional Hospital at the age of 72 years, 11 months, and 21 days. He and Eletha had celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on July 21st of that year. He would have been 73 years old on August 9th. He is buried at the Lone Elm Cemetery outside of Claremore on Highway 20.

His wife Eletha, son Larry and family, and daughter Tricia Condor and family still live in Claremore. His daughter Connie James and family moved to Inola Oklahoma in 1979.

At Leon's funeral, since it wasn't a military funeral, they couldn't drape his coffin with a flag. But his wife Eletha was presented with one of behalf of the United States Army. He has a military headstone on his grave.

I am proud of my dad, and at times still miss him.

Connie James
daughter of Leon Johnston
July 14, 2003

James Leon Johnston and Eletha Hinds Johnston
May 8th 1994

 

 

 

 

 

Rogers Co, OK

 
 

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