Jesse R. Johnston, age 87, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at Manor Care in Appleton. He was born on June 19, 1926 son of the late Jesse C. and Leona Stelzner Johnston.
He joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17. He became a Rifle Sharpshooter and qualified as a Machine Gun Crewman and Swimmer. During WWII, he served in the Asiatic-Pacific Area from September 1944 to April 1945. He participated in action on Iwo Jima from February to March 1945 and was wounded in action. He was honorably discharged in December 1945 and was awarded a Purple Heart Medal. After his discharge from the military he received his GED.
Jesse married the love of his life, Lila L. Becker of Omro on July 19, 1946 in Oshkosh. They were happily married for 67 years.
He was an apprentice patternmaker and carpenter at Badger Concrete and employed for 20 years. In 1965 Jesse and Lila bought the Saddle and Leather Shop at 1000 Oregon St. in Oshkosh during the 100th year anniversary of the shop's opening. They owned and operated the Saddle and Leather Shop for 10 years. In 1976 he was a sales rep for Berg Equipment Company. He was also employed at Oshkosh Door/Fenestra Co. and Black and Decker.
In October 2011 he flew to Washington D.C. with other WWII veterans on the Marine Honor Flight.
He was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Oshkosh. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, carpentry, gardening, and lawn care. He was an active member of VFW Post 1908. His greatest joy was spending time with family and friends. He loved God and his country.
Jesse is survived by his wife, Lila; a sister Lorraine McAuley of Oshkosh, a brother Richard Johnston of Madison, a brother-in-law Phil(Jan) Becker in Berlin, a sister-in-law Esther Simplot of Boise ID., a brother-in-law Rex Peterson of Peru, IL., four daughters Sharon Cooper, of South Carolina, Susan Johnston, Debra (Robert) Sommerfeldt and Dr. Sandra Johnston all of Oshkosh; eight grandchildren Jeffrey(Alexia) Cooper, Jackie Cooper of South Carolina Melissa(Josh) Domingo of North Carolina, John(Ashley) Cooper, Todd Johnston all of Virginia; Angela(Erik) Folske, Matt(Lindsay) Sommerfeldt and David(Julie) Sommerfeldt all of Oshkosh; seven great grandchildren Heath Cooper of South Carolina, Aiden, Noah and Lila Domingo of North Carolina; Wesley and Wyatt Folske and Peyton Sommerfeldt all of Oshkosh.
Jesse was preceded in death by his parents and one son-in-law Ron Cooper, three brothers-in-law Jack Simplot, Duane Cismoski, Edward Becker, and two sisters-in-law Marion Peterson and Ruby Cismoski .
A funeral service for Jesse will be held on Thursday January 16, 2014 at Konrad-Behlman Funeral Homes-Westside at 11:30 a.m. with Rev. Jennifer Czarnota officiating. Visitation will be on Wednesday January 15, 2014 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and again on Thursday at the funeral home at 10:30 a.m. until the time of services. Military Honors will be performed following the funeral. Burial will take place at Lake View Memorial Cemetery.
A memorial has been established for Disabled American Veterans or St. John's Lutheran Church of Oshkosh.
Published in Oshkosh Northwestern on Jan. 14, 2014