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Johnson, Steven LeRoy 1945-1967

SOUTH, JOHNSON, SICKMAN

Posted By: Mary Durr (email)
Date: 10/21/2003 at 15:56:10

3/c Steven LeRoy Johnson 1945-1967

STEVEN JOHNSON MEMORIAL RITES

A memorial service for 3/c Steven LeRoy Johnson, 22, interior communications electrician aboard the missing submarine Scorpion, was held Sunday morning, June 16, at 10:30 o'clock at St. Paul Ev. Lutheran church with Rev. R. E. Langholz delivering the sermon.

He was among the four Iowans and 90 crew members aboard the missing nuclear submarine who were officially declared dead by the navy last week.

The entryway in the church contained a table displaying high school and navy pictures of Steve, an American flag, and the telegram his parents had hoped would never arrive.

Rev. Langholz in his sermon commenting on Steve said, "He was a boy who remembered his home church whenever he was gone. No greater service can man offer than serving his country and God. Steve gave his life for his country. The submarine force is one of our first lines of defense."

Following the service, the Leslie H. Smith Post N. 519 of the American Legion color guard volleyed three shots, played taps and presented the flag to the family.

[Inserted here is a snapshot picture of Steve in uniform in someone's home.]

Steven was born the son of Leland and Marietta, nee South, Johnson Sept. 7, 1945, at Sioux City. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran church in Onawa, Nov. 2, 1947, by Rev. Paul Nyholm. He was confirmed April 10, 1960, at St. Paul Lutheran church in Guttenberg when Rev. H. Black was pastor. He received his education at Castalia, Guttenberg and Monona, graduating from M-F-L Community High school in 1963. The Johnson family moved to a farm 4 miles east of Monona in 1961.

Steve enlisted in the Navy, Jan. 1, 1964. He received his boot training at San Diego, Calif., and graduated from the Service Command school, Aug. 7, 1964, the Submarine school at New London, Groton, Conn. and the Nuclear Power school at Vallejo, Calif.

He began his service aboard the USS Scorpion in the spring of 1966 and had been on several cruises aboard this nuclear submarine which had established an underwater record in 1961. The Scorpion had been on assignment in the Mediterranean. Steve sent a card to his family from Naples, Italy, April 28, 1968. It was last heard from May 21, 1968 when it was near the Azores in the Atlantic. It was due in port at Norfolk, Va., May 27, 1968. An extensive search was conducted; reported to be the largest in history.

The Johnson family received the following telegram June 6: "It is with utmost regret I confirm that you son IC3 Steven LeRoy Johnson 692 89 69 USN, a crew member of the USS Scorpion which has been overdue since 27 May 1968 has been determined to have died. I further regret to inform you that extensive searches for the Scorpion have brought negative results, therefore, your son's remains have not been recovered. A letter from Commander Submarine Squadron Six will follow. Your son died while serving his country. My sincerest sympathy is extended to you in your great loss. If I can assist you in anyway, please write or telegraph me. For your information, a Memorial Service for the crewmembers of the Scorpion will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the Naval Station Chapel, Norfolk, Virginia. Signed Vice Admiral C. K. Duncan Chief of Navy Personnel."

Steve was married April 26, 1967, to Betty Sickman at Virginia Beach, Va. They had become acquainted while she was serving in the Waves.

Preceding him in death were one brother, Douglas Alan, who died when he was 2 years old, and a sister, Ellen Marie, who was stillborn.

In addition on his wife, he is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leland Johnson; one brother Paul, who has completed one year at Concordia college at Moorhead, Minn., and will enroll at Augustana, Sioux Falls, S. D., this fall; three sisters, Suzanne, 17, Debra, 13, and Patricia 11; paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson of Uehling, Nebr.; and maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Guy South of Onawa.

Steve's wife, who is expecting her first child, was not present and was expected to arrive here Tuesday night.

"She has taken this very well......She must be a very strong person," said Mrs. Johnson. "Steve was very courageous, __?__ ................always has been."

"Everybody has been wonderful to us", stated Mrs. Johnson. "They have brought us food ........helped us with our work and given money to a memorial fund in Steve's name."

Mrs. Johnson said one of the ideas for using the memorial fund would be to educate an underprivileged child. "We will decide what to do with it when Betty gets here," she said.

Mrs. R. E. Langholz, the minister's wife said, "Steve didn't blow his own horn.....He did things very quietly, ......but he did things."

Members of the American Legion and National Guard attended the services in a body. Frederick Heins, Russell Holroyd, and Harry Luster Jr. represented the Navy.

Postville Herald newspaper clipping from my mother's obituary collection.

_________________
Photo added 10/25/11 by S. Ferrall is from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, 6/4/1968


 

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