Lt. Colonel (Ret. USAF) Leo Johnson passed away at his home in Fairfax, OK, on January 6, 2024, at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Julianne (Judy); 3 children Casey (and his wife Johnna), Scott (and his fiancée Sarah), and Becky; 5 grandchildren Zachary, Thomas, Kylie, Lucas, and Wesley Johnson; and 3 great grandchildren, Maliyah, Jeremiah and Hazeleigh Johnson. He is also survived by 2 sisters Mary Hudson (and her husband Jim) of Edmond, OK and Carol Spivey (and her husband Tom); brothers-in-law Ted Hazelbaker Jr. and Dennis Hutcheson. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, including Terri Dawn and Michael Dutton, Tim Watts, Mary Louise and Greg Jordan, Jeff and Kasey Watts, Larry and Brenna Hutcheson, Christopher and Lori Spivey, Hank and Shana Johnston, Terri and Tony Gordon, John and Andrea Watts, and Amanda Hudson and many great nieces and nephews
Leo was born Dec. 27, 1936, in Pawnee, OK, to Leo Otis and Cleo Delores Sumpter Johnson. He attended Fairfax Public Schools and started at college at NOC on a football scholarship. In 1958, he entered the US Air Force Academy, graduating in 1962. He played football for the Academy and is named in Who’s Who as the first American Indian to graduate the Academy although he always said his friend Victor who was a class ahead of him was the first. After graduation, he completed pilot training at Vance AFB in Enid. He is a veteran of the Cold War and Vietnam War, and his Air Force career took the family to bases all over the US, Japan, and ultimately to the Pentagon. He flew many combat missions in Vietnam including nuclear weapons transport for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the B-47 Bomber. During this career he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters in addition to a Masters in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.
After retiring from the military, he returned with his family to his hometown where he taught high school and coached. After teaching in Fairfax Schools, he went on to be a flight instructor for an international airline and the CIA. He later earned his Masters in Education completing his teaching career with Tulsa Public Schools acting as Vice Principal at a Tulsa alternative school and then in the Indian education office.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers – Richard (“Jonesy”), Clifford, and David – and his sister, Patsy.