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Odell J. Johnson

July 19, 1921 - February 19, 2023

Odell Jerome Johnson passed away on February 19, 2023 at the age of 101. 

Odell was born on July 19, 1921 to John Martin and Cora (Sanden) Johnson in Hesper, IA.  He attended Newhouse country school and graduated from Mabel High School in 1940.  He was a life-long member of Mabel First Lutheran Church.

Odell enlisted in the Army Air Corp in February 1942.   He received training in Texas, Illinois, California, and Florida.  Odell graduated from Luke Field, AZ as a fighter pilot in 1943.  He was sent overseas early in 1944.  On his 106th mission he was shot down over Freiburg, Germany and was captured by enemy forces near Mulhouse, France.  He spent 10 months as a POW in Germany.  Odell was promoted to captain and continued on active duty until 1947.  After leaving the military, he started a crop dusting business in North Dakota with two other war veterans and he flew for another two years.

On August 31, 1948 he married Evelyn Narum in a double wedding ceremony with their good friends Marge & Arnie Engen.  They rented a farm in the Mabel area for three years before they purchased the family farm where they lived until they sold the farm in 1989 and moved into Mabel.  Odell and Evelyn had four children:  Dave, Nancy, Dennis, and Duane.

Odell is survived by daughter Nancy (Mark) Feely of Stillwater, MN, sons Dennis (Mary) Johnson of Wilmington, NC and Duane (Barb) Johnson of Black River Falls, WI, ten grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and his sister-in-law Irma Johnson of Mabel, MN.  He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 74 years Evelyn Johnson, son Dave, sister Charlotte Edwards, brothers Ervin Johnson and Maynard Johnson. 

Blessed be his memory.

Funeral service will be 11 AM, Saturday, February 25th at the Mabel First Lutheran Church. Visitation will be one hour prior to services at the church. Burial with military honors will be in the Mabel Lutheran Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to the American Red Cross.   

(for more information on Odell’s service to our country see YouTube video:  WWII Pilot Odell Johnson)

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