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LeRoy Johnston, Jr.

LeRoy Johnston, Jr. LeRoy Johnston Jr., of Manhattan, died February 6, 2018, at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in Manhattan.

LeRoy was born December 4, 1922 in Blue Rapids, the oldest son of LeRoy Johnston Sr. and Edith Viola (Bowersox) Johnston. He grew up on the family farm near Frankfort, and graduated from Frankfort High School in 1940 as valedictorian. He was attending the University of Kansas in 1940 when his education was interrupted by the war. He volunteered for the Navy in 1942, joining the first “Flying Jayhawks” squadron. He served as a naval aviator from 1942 to 1945, conducting antisubmarine patrols in the Caribbean based out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He flew the PBY Catalina and Martin PBM Mariner flying boats.

After the war he resumed his college education. He attended the University of Alaska in 1946 and then returned to KU where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1948.

From 1948 to 1951 he worked for Creole Petroleum Corporation (an Exxon affiliate) in Venezuela. He returned to the United States and worked for General Motors in Kansas City from 1951 to 1953 on F-84 Thunderjet and Thunderstreak fighter plane manufacturing. While in the states, he met Mary Josepha (Jo) Lammerding of Marysville and they were married in 1952.

LeRoy and Jo moved to Venezuela where they lived from 1953 to 1969. LeRoy became general manager of the Amuay refinery, then the second largest refinery in the world. During that time, their two children, LeRoy III and Jan Marie were born. LeRoy’s next assignment was in Aruba, where from 1969 to 1974 he was vice president of Lago Oil and Transport Company (affiliate of Exxon), operator of one of the largest refineries in the world. In Aruba he was a member of the Rotary Club.

LeRoy retired in 1974 after 25 years of working overseas and started a second career as a farmer/rancher in Riley County. LeRoy and Jo enjoyed many years together on their ranch north of Olsburg on Spring Creek. LeRoy enjoyed hunting, fishing, raising quarter horses, flying, sailing in the Caribbean with his family, traveling, and having his grandchildren over for extended stays on the ranch in the summers. LeRoy and Jo traveled all over the world and to all 50 states. LeRoy was a member of the University of Kansas Chancellor’s Club.

LeRoy and Jo moved to Manhattan in 1998.

LeRoy was preceded in death by his sister Mary Jane and his brother Robert Edward Johnston. He is survived by Jo, his wife of 65 years, his children LeRoy Johnston III (Terri) of Dublin, OH and Jan Marie Johnston, MD (Kevin Smith, MD) of Solana Beach, CA, his sister Anna Mae Shaffer of Marysville, three grandchildren; Tristan, Pelham and Antonia; five great-grandchildren; and nine nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502, at 10:00 AM Saturday, March 3rd. Inurnment will follow the memorial service at 1:30 PM Saturday at the St. Gregory’s Cemetery in Marysville.

Memorial contributions in memory of LeRoy are suggested to St. Thomas More Catholic Church and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.

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