Leo M. Johnson, 65, of Tekamah NE

Leo M. Johnson was born December 5, 1950 in Oakland to Karl G. and Anna H. Johnson. He passed away Friday September 9, 2016 at the Golden Living Center in Omaha, after a long struggle with diabetes and kidney failure.

Leo lived on family farms west of Tekamah, near what is now Summit Lake. He attended country school, later entering Craig High School, graduating in 1970 from Oakland-Craig.
Leo and Mary E. Smith of Craig were married in 1972. They were later divorced, but remained good friends. Two children were born to this marriage, Tony of Blair and Abby of Council Bluffs, IA.

Leo was a diehard farmer who enjoyed working his land, remodeling his house and living in the country. He also operated several businesses – a small dairy operation, a vegetable co-op and an air conditioning repair service. Leo was truly a “jack-of-all-trades.” One of his greatest pleasures was sharing whatever he had with his friends and family. This included home grown vegetables, his latest recipe and his time when anyone needed help.

Health was always a problem for Leo. He was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes as the age of 6 and struggled with controlling the disease throughout his life. Eventually, it took its toll on his body. His eyesight deteriorated, muscles weakened due to nerve damage and finally his kidneys failed. At age 37, his name was put on a list to receive a transplant. Until a donor organ became available, he performed home dialysis which allowed him to continue to live a normal life. Two years later, on September 7, 1989, he became the 5th recipient of a kidney/pancreas transplant at the University of Nebraska. This gift was a success for almost 25 years. He was no longer diabetic and had a functioning kidney, but continued to deal with the damage done to his body by the disease.

Leo was very thankful for this gift and proud to have been part of this groundbreaking program. He referred to himself as one of the “guinea pigs” of the first 5.

Preceding Leo in death are his parents; sister, Molly Charling; and nephews: Kurtis Charling and Jed Johnson.

He is survived by his 2 children, Tony of Blair, NE, Abby (Eric) Schnackel of Council Bluffs, IA; grandchildren: Elliana and Liam, of Council Bluffs, IA; one brother, Jerry (Adele) Johnson of Luverne, MN; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation is Wed., Sept. 14th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Pelan Funeral Services in Tekamah. Family will be receiving friends during this time.

The Funeral Service is Wed., Sept. 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Pelan Funeral Services in Tekamah.

Burial will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Juvenile Diabetes Association. Also please consider organ donation as the ultimate gift.

Leo Johnson

Leo Johnson

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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