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James Willard Johnson

October 26, 1922 ~ December 21, 2017 (age 95)

James Willard Johnson, 95, of Chaseburg died Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, at Huntington Place, Janesville, Wis.

Jim was born in La Crosse, Oct. 26, 1922, to Sam and Nora (Albrechtson) Johnson. He was baptized and confirmed at Middle Coon Valley Lutheran Church. He graduated from Central High School, La Crosse. On his 20th birthday, Jim enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Selected for pilot training, he earned his wings at Columbus Army Air Field, Feb. 8, 1944. Lieutenant Johnson piloted the B-25 in the Southwest Pacific from bases in New Guinea and the Philippines, and received the Air Medal and oak leaf clusters during his service.

Returning to Chaseburg after the war, Jim fell in love with Beverly Stafslien. The couple married in Viroqua, April 25, 1946. Over 68 years, they raised a family persevering through good times and bad. Jim was employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a postmaster and rural route mail carrier. An active member of his community, Jim ushered and was involved in numerous committees at Middle Coon Valley Church, served on the school board, was a founding member of the Chaseburg Rod and Gun Club, and proudly participated in American Legion Post 202. Jim hunted, fished, and learned carpentry from his father. These were skills he frequently shared with others and his talent for remodeling was admired. After retirement, Jim and Bev enjoyed traveling together. Jim is warmly remembered for his faith, values, and hard work, including generous amounts of time he devoted to family and friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife; infant daughter, Julie Jean; and his parents. He is survived by his brother, Robert (Mary) Johnson of Madison, Wis.; children, Reed Johnson, Oregon, Julie (Gary) Blihovde, Janesville and Jane (Mike) Decker, Chaseburg; 10 grandchildren, Renee (Ben) Hagen, Nicole (Cory) Adams, Nathan Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Kristen (Steve) Mathesius, Sonja (David) Henry, Thomas Blihovde, Sarah (Sam) Hillier, Ashley Darrow and Cody Darrow; and 11 great-grandchildren, Andrea and Trevor Hagen, Ethan and Alexander Adams, Katja, James and Julia Mathesius, Evan and Hana Henry, Matilda Hillier and Hailey Darrow.

A Memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday June 9, 2018 at the Middle Coon Valley Lutheran Church, rural Chaseburg.  Rev. Meg Eiben Hoversten will officiate with burial in the church cemetery.  A visitation will be held from noon until service time. Military honors will be conducted by the Chaseburg American Legion Post #202. 

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