JOHNSON, EARLE LEVAN (29 Jan. 1895-16 Feb. 1947), developer of the national civil air defense system, was born in Great Barrington, Mass., to Levan and Nellie Ann Johnson. He moved with his family to Lake County, Ohio when he was 8. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1917 and returned to the family farm in Lake County. He became involved in the Republican party, in 1926 served 3 terms in the Ohio house of representatives. During the 1920s and 1930s, Johnson started his own building and real-estate companies, owning and managing properties in Lake County. He also became vice-president of LEISY BREWING CO. of Cleveland and vice-president of Northern Ohio Insurance Corp.

In the 1930s Johnson was chairman of the Come to Cleveland Committee of the CLEVELAND ADVERTISING CLUB, drawing large conventions to Cleveland. In Lake County, he continued his father's sponsorship of Camp Levan Johnson for underprivileged children. Johnson started flying in 1929, and early in WORLD WAR II, urged the government to permit civilian pilots to help in the war effort. In 1941, Johnson organized pilots into a state wing of the Civil Air Defense. When the Civil Air Patrol was organized a year later, he left for Washington to become its assistant executive officer, soon becoming national commander, being awarded the Legion of Merit. After the war, he continued as national commander of the CAP until a fatal airplane accident in N. ROYALTON in 1947. He was buried in Arlington Natl. Cemetery, survived by his wife, the former Doris Doan whom he married in 1921.

Earle L. Johnson Papers, WRHS.

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