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Leslie B. Johnson

May 11, 1923 - December 19, 2018
Muskegon, MI

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Visitation

Friday, January 4, 2019
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST
First Congregational Church UCC
1201 Jefferson Street
Muskegon, MI 49441
Web Site

Service

Friday, January 4, 2019
2:00 PM EST
First Congregational Church UCC
1201 Jefferson
Muskegon, MI 49441
Web Site

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

First Congregational Church UCC
1201 Jefferson
Muskegon, MI 49441
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Chalet Floral
700 W. Hackley Ave.
Muskegon, MI 49441
(231) 755-1805
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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With a journey that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Leslie Johnson lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He was a hardworking man of honor who gave everything his all. A loving husband and father, Les treasured each and every moment spent with his loved ones. A man of faith, it was his faith that carried him through the peaks and valleys of his life. Life will never be the same without Les here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.

The Roaring Twenties were an exciting time in America. Jazz music, ballroom dancing, and motion pictures in both color and sound were among the threads woven into the cultural fabric of the generation. Cars were more affordable thanks to the assembly line, and Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh were fearless in the air. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great anticipation in the lives of Carl and Maude (Bowman) Johnson as they were awaiting the birth of their new baby as the beauty of spring was in full force in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1923. Their wait was over on May 11th when the baby boy they named Leslie Bowman made his arrival.

In many ways Les was a young boy of his generation. One of four children, he was raised in the family home alongside his brother, Dick, and his sisters, Marilyn and Virginia. Leslie’s father was an immigrant from Sweden who worked in the construction industry while his mother was a homemaker. Les loved sports and played football and hockey, and he was also an exceptional baseball player. In fact, he was drafted into the minor leagues, but when WWII arrived with the bombing of Pearl Harbor life was drastically changed for Les.

Throughout his life Les was known for his strong work ethic in everything he did. As a young man of 17 he enlisted in the United States Army, serving as a signalman in the Pacific during WWII. For the rest of his life Les was very proud to have served his country during this time of need and loved being a veteran. With his military duties fulfilled, Les returned to Michigan and attended Michigan State College where he graduated with a BA in Business Administration in 1948. Shortly after graduating, he met a young woman named Dorothy, and they were later married and had a son, Gary. Unfortunately their marriage ended in divorce after eight years.

Les had a variety of jobs before eventually settling in at Consumers Power Company. He started out as a recruiter and later became a district manager. Leslie’s work took him from Lansing, to Jackson, Owasso, and finally to Muskegon. He always had a good rapport with the union members, and they respected one another. After 36 years with Consumers, Les retired.

New and exciting changes were in store for Les when he met the love of his life. Her name was Barbara Morehouse, and she was working as his secretary at the time. As their romance blossomed, Barbara changed jobs as there weren’t relationships allowed in the workplace. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Les and Barbara were married on May 16, 1958. Together they welcomed their son, Mark, into their hearts and home. Les was an active part of his son’s life and was sure to be there for all his sporting events and school activities.

As their family and friends can attest, Les and Barb were soul mates and best friends. They enjoyed playing bridge and duplicate bridge, and they always belonged to bridge clubs wherever they lived. They also loved golfing together and golfed on leagues together. They also enjoyed the many golf courses around the Muskegon. Barb and Les were passionate about music and theatre, and they were regulars at the symphony and local theater productions as well as traveling Broadway shows.

During their retirement years, Les and Barb spent their winters in sunny Panama Beach, Florida, where they rented the same place for 22 years. They established many treasured friendships there over the years, and their grandchildren made several trips to see them, too. Les and Barb even took in some Broadway shows while they were there. They also loved going on Caribbean cruises, usually with Barbara’s sister, Marilyn and her husband. Throughout their married life they went on a total of 32 cruises. Les was deeply saddened with Barb’s death in 2009, but with the support of his family and his church, First Congregational Church, he continued making the most of the days he was given. He remained active, too, still playing bridge three times a week and watching his favorite sports teams. Les was also in church every Sunday with his son, Mark, at his side. Even when Les started using a walker, he didn’t really slow down much as he was still driving himself to his card games. Les was also a voracious reader who enjoyed courtroom dramas and spy mysteries. He also loved doing crossword puzzles.

With unending devotion to his family, Leslie Bowman was a blessing in the lives of so many others. He worked hard, but he took the time to enjoy life along with way. Although he experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, what made these experiences so extraordinary was sharing them with the ones he loved. Dearly loved, Les will be forever missed by all who were blessed to know and love him.

Leslie Bowman Johnson passed away Wednesday, December 19, 2018. Leslie’s family includes his sons, Gary Johnson of Lansing, Mark Johnson of Muskegon; grandchildren, Alex, Daniel & Laura Johnson; sister, Marilyn Berglund of IA; special niece, Peggy Johnson; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara in 2009; brother, Dick and sister, Ginny. Services will be held on Friday, January 4, 2019, 2:00 p.m. with visitation one hour prior to the service at First Congregational Church UCC with Rev. Timothy D. Vander Haar officiating and military rites under the auspices of the Muskegon County Veterans Council. Memorials can be made to First Congregational Church UCC.

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