Howard L. Johnson, retired District Manager of U.S. West, passed away Friday, April 21, 2006 of natural causes at his home.
Howard was born February 25, 1920 the second son of Oscar and Rose Johnson, in rural Carlton County Minnesota. He attended school at Big Lake and Cloquet High School. In 1939, Howard went to work as an apprentice lineman for Northern Pacific Telegraph Department and reached journeyman status in 1941.
After Pearl Harbor, Howard enlisted in the US Army Signal Corps and after basic training was assigned to the 9th Signal Service Co. which later became the 972nd Signal Service Battalion. Howard served 43 months in the Army, 37 months were in the Pacific Theatre. He was discharged in October 1945 as a Master Sergeant.
While on military leave, Howard married Mary M.. Dunleavy on August 4, 1945 in St. Patrick’s Church in Billings. After his discharge from the service they made their home in Billings.
Howard went to work as a lineman for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company in December of 1945 and worked on many assignments for the next 37 plus years in Billings, Helena and Missoula. He returned to Billings in 1975 as District Network Manager and retired from this position in October of 1982.
Howard was a member of Billings Elks Club, St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral, Telephone Pioneers of America, Billings Downtown Exchange Club, and Mountain State Federal Credit Union.
Active in his church and community Howard has served as president and Lt. Governor of the Billings Civitan Club, President and one of the co-founders of Mountain States Tel & Tel Credit Union, President of Telephone Pioneers of America, Exchange Club Properties, served on the Board of Directors for Billings Exchange Club, Mountain State Federal Credit Union, and Par Three Golf Course. He also served as Scout Master for Troop #9 St. Patrick’s Church and after retirement served on the Greater Billings Task Force. Howard was an usher at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral and has served as a lector at Holy Rosary, St. Mary’s in Helena and Christ The King in Missoula.
Howard is survived by his wife Mary, son, Dr. Richard D. Johnson and wife Janet of Ft. Collins, CO; daughter, Mary Ann Johnson Bradley and husband Timothy of Laurel, MT; Granddaughter Sarah Rose Bradley of Laurel; Grandson, Timothy J. Bradley of Laurel; brother, Harold A. Johnson of Cloquet, MN; and cousins, nephews and nieces.
Visitation will begin 4:00P.M. Tuesday at the Mortuary. Vigil services will be held at 6:00 P.M., on Wednesday, April 26, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Funeral Mass will be held at 12:00 P.M., on Thursday, at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral with rite of committal to follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the St. Labre Indian School, Ashland, MT 59004; Montana Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 3232, Billings, MT 59103; St. Vincent DePaul, 2610 Montana Ave. Billings, MT 59101; or to the charity of one’s choice.