About the 4/22/05 Memorial Service:
|On Friday afternoon, April 22, 2005, Leo's
family held a Memorial Service for him at Atonement Lutheran Church in
Overland Park Kansas. (more
about Atonement...) Leo and Edna are still members of that church
- and with the help and support of Pastor John Frey, we were able to
present a service in memory of Leo and his legacy.
The family prepared a Memories Table for the foyer of the church. It presented Leo's diplomas from college and med school, old photos from his life and especially from his courtship and wedding to Edna, some Boy Scout memorabilia like a Plaque presented to him at Philmont Scout Ranch, and a large Kansas Jayhawk. There were also many large floral arrangements sent by friends.
The whole family met in the chapel to pray with the pastors. One of the grandkids peeked out, and we were all surprised and pleased to hear from him that the line to get into the sanctuary extended to the front door - even at the scheduled starting time for the service!
Dad's service began with Alan Manning, a music pastor and family friend, playing some beautiful piano music on the Steinway 7-foot grand, accompanied by Evan Smalley on his 1875 cello that is literally held together with both duct tape and baling wire. (It's just the type of rigged-up contraption that Dad would have appreciated - or engineered himself!) (Hear more music by Evan; Bud's family loves to visit Evan's tree house...) Then, the family filed in and sat down. Leo III (Bud) replaced Alan at the piano, and played a song (hear it) accompanied by Evan's beautiful cello notes and the fine voice of Ron Gutierrez (see and hear Ron at the Kennedy Center - hit refresh if you can't see the page).
The pastor read some of the Lutheran Liturgy, and then Ted read a verse from the Bible - Revelation 21:1-7. Chris followed with the passage from Romans 8:31-39. Bud then offered some remarks about Leo's activities in the Boy Scouts of America, and introduced Rob, who presented a moving eulogy of remembrances about Dad that had the audience both smiling in joyful recollection and fighting back tears.
After the congregation sang "Beautiful Savior", they recited the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer, and listened to Pastor Frey present a touching lesson about the trials life can present. In the Old Testament, Job experienced the highest of highs - - followed by the lowest of lows as he was stripped of his wealth and his family. But, Job still found a way to write "I know that my Redeemer lives...". The life of Leo Johns was not an easy one during his 19 years and 10 months of paralysis. He had physical issues, immense psychological challenges, and had to shoulder a burden of broken pride that most of us reading these words can only imagine - and hope to escape.
But, with the help of his family and friends, Dad found a way to cope - for the most part.
The Memorial service ended with "Abide With Me", a touching hymn of both sorrow and joy. (Henry Lyte wrote that hymn as he watched the setting sun while dying of tuberculosis. Sunset-watching was an activity that Dad enjoyed very much, and Lyte's condition was one that Dr. Leo E. Johns, Jr. was arguably the midwest's premier expert on...) After leaving the sanctuary, we gathered in a Reception Room for some cookies and punch - and for many shared stories about Leo with our friends. There were hundreds of visitors to the service - most notably several of Leo's medical residents, practically half of the old Troop 187 Committee (with names like Albright, Eichmann, Love, Gavin, and Busse), and many many old friends that we could never list here, or thank enough.
We were touched by you, Leo... and we will
See more pics of Leo and Edna's family...
back to Leo's page...