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Hadleigh Joseph "Joe" Johnson, Jr. - April 25, 2011


Hadleigh Joseph “Joe” Johnson, Jr., 89, passed away April 25, 2011 at his home in Mancos, Colo.
He was born in Seneca, Neb. on May 7, 1921 to Dr. Hadleigh and Avis (Odell) Johnson. He was the oldest of three children and graduated from Perkins County High School in Grant, Neb. in 1939. He worked at the Grant Theatre during his high school years and then went to Santa Monica, Calif. where he worked at a Shell service station and at Douglas Aircraft before entering the Army of the U.S. (AAF) in October 1942.
As a sergeant in the 44th Bombardment Squadron/40th Bombardment Group during the U.S. and Asiatic Pacific Theater, he was an armorer for fighter and heavy bombardment aircraft as well as an aircraft machine gun and cannon instructor. He was honorably discharged in November 1945. He attended Santa Monica City College and the University of Southern California graduating cum laude in 1950 with a B.S. in Marketing from the School of Commerce.
He worked for Gates Rubber Company in Denver, where he met Mildred (Millie) Strong Rhoads. They were married 57 years. He was a salesman with Graingers and Kellogg American. During those years he had his pilot’s license and owned two planes. He owned a hardware store and a rubber and engraving shop in the Denver area. After he retired he worked as a volunteer restoring a B-29 at Lowry AFB Museum.
He and his wife moved to Mancos where he enjoyed gardening, tinkering in his shop, and visiting with friends and relatives.
He is survived by his wife, Mildred, of Mancos, two step- children, Jan and husband Al Brown of Durango, Colo., Russ and wife Barbara Rhoads of Denver; a nephew, Mick and wife Karen Johns of Bothell, Wash., and two great nephews, Zack and Matthew. He is known as “Grandpa Joe” by his two step-grandchildren, Chris and wife Ari Rhoads of Denver and Angela and husband Mark Grant of Glenrock, Wyo., and three step-great-grandchildren, Darien Rhoads, and Kayla and Austin Grant.
He is remembered for his loyalty to country, family, and friends, his green chili burritos, and the jingle in his pocket.
Family and friends are invited to view his memorial at http://ertelfuneralhome.com/