JOHNSON, Leon Dibrell III, 93, died Monday, January 30, 2011, at his residence in Richmond, Va. He was born on May 1, 1917 to the late Alice Faulkner Johnson and Leon D. Johnson Jr. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 62 years, Frances Palmore Johnson; his sister, Nellie J. Wisner and her son, Martin Wisner. He is survived by a daughter, Gail Johnson Morrison (Frank); a son, Leon Dibrell Johnson IV (Nancy); six grandchildren, Katherine H. Hamilton (David), John F. Heil Jr. (Katrina), Henry F. Heil (Kerrin), Lucy P. Homiller (Will), Evan D. Johnson, Erin L. Johnson; two stepgrandchildren, John F.W. Morrison and M. Brooks Morrison; eight great-grandchildren, Alison and Ian Mayo, Henry and James Hamilton, Ella Bishop-Heil and Andrew Heil, Frances and George Homiller; one stepgreat-grandchild, Kasey Morrison; two nephews, Richard and Charles Wisner; close friend, Dawn Henderson and her children, Amy, Iain and Noel; a host of beloved friends, especially George Eldridge; and a team of devoted caregivers, known as the Dream Team, Kelly Yachuw, Pauline Jones, Lois Hopkins, Angie Ivy, Letha Rice, Michelle Hartridge, Jenny Wright, Debra Alomari, and Terry Matthews. Born in Richmond and raised in Bensley Village, Leon graduated from Chester High School in 1935 and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1939 with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering. He accepted a job with VEPCO, now Dominion Virginia Power, but asked for a leave of absence to join the Navy when WWII was declared. He attended officer training school at Bates College, where he received a commission as second lieutenant and was later promoted to lieutenant. He served on the USS New Jersey in the South Pacific Fleet under the command of Admiral William "Bull" Halsey. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Presidential Unit Citation for his participation with the Third Fleet against the Japanese Navy. At the conclusion of the war, he returned home to Richmond to rejoin his family and resume his first job at VEPCO, which was to install electricity in private homes in Richmond and in Chesterfield County. Serving VEPCO in numerous managerial roles for many years in Richmond and Alexandria, Leon was named senior vice president for support services in 1968. He was responsible for supervising the construction of the company's impressive corporate headquarters, One James River Plaza, completed in 1978. He retired in 1981 after an illustrious 42-year career. Leon was president of Public Utilities Association of the Virginias and a member of the Virginia State and Richmond Chambers of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Alexandria, Va. (perfect attendance), the Masonic Fraternity (1939 to 2009), and chair of the Virginia Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1952, 1953). He served as trustee and elder of Drewry's Bluff Presbyterian Church, renamed New Covenant, and he was committed to community service throughout his lifetime. He was the first president of Bensley Elementary School PTA, a coach for Little League baseball, first president of the VEPCO retiree organization, member of the advisory council at DuPont and advisor to the Bensley Civic Association, which officially anointed him the Mayor of Bensley. In 2009, he led the parade celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Bensley Village. A gentle and kind man, Leon exemplified a life well lived. He engendered love, admiration, and respect from his family and all who knew him. He was frugal with himself, but generous with others, always finding ways to enrich the lives of his family, friends and acquaintances. The family wishes to thank the Medi-Home Hospice Program, members of New Covenant and the Dream Team for their exceptional care, devotion and love given to Leon this past year. The family will receive friends 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, February 11, at Morrissett Funeral Home, 6500 Iron Bridge Road. A memorial service, conducted by The Reverend Felecia Taylor Douglass, will take place 11 a.m. Saturday, February 12, at New Covenant Presbyterian Church, 6415 Irongate Drive. Friends are invited to join the family for a repast at the church following the service. Please consider a memorial gift to New Covenant Presbyterian Church, 6415 Irongate Drive, Richmond, Va. 23234 or Presbyterian Homes & Family Services, 150 Linden Ave., Lynchburg, Va. 24503.
This obituary was originally published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Published by Richmond Times-Dispatch on Feb. 6, 2011.