CALHOUN, KY - Willie Lee Johnson, Sr. 91, of Calhoun, KY passed away Thursday, March 1, 2012 at NHC Healthcare in Madisonville.
Willie Lee Johnson was born November 8, 1920 in Philpot, KY to the late Lee and Leona Melvin Johnson and was married to the former Hazel Augustus Boyd on July 5, 1941. Willie Lee was a great horseman, a horse racing jockey, and was known as “Wee Willie” on the track. He started riding at an early age in 1936 and rode in two KY Derbys. Willie Lee set records at Dade Park, now Ellis Park, rode all over the states, Cuba, and Mexico, and became the Leading Rider of the Country. His career was interrupted by World War II. Willie Lee served in the U.S. Army overseas, where he was seriously wounded when the jeep he was driving ran over a landmine. He received the Silver Star and a Bronze Star. After the war, Willie Lee returned to the race track and continued riding and later training horses. After the death of his parents, he retired to his farm in McLean County, went on to farm and work for May Electric. Willie Lee was a member of the Calhoun Christian Church, a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, M
cLean County Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post # 5415, and a charter member of the Owensboro – Daviess County Tourist Commission, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. In addition to his parents, Willie Lee was preceded in death by a daughter, Sheila Clark, who passed away October 23, 1978.
Survivors include his wife of 70 years, Hazel Johnson; a son, Willie Lee “Shorty” Johnson, Jr. and his wife, Kaye of Calhoun; two grandsons, Houston Clark and his wife, Jenny of Calhoun and Jason Johnson and his fiancée, Kristy Zale of Nashville; three great grandchildren, Adam Clark, Jacob Clark, and Molly Clark; a brother and his wife, George and Lois Johnson of Calhoun; several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday at Muster Funeral Homes, Calhoun Chapel with the Rev. Tony St. Clair and the Rev. Mike Rich officiating. Burial will be in the Calhoun Cemetery in McLean County. Friends may visit with Willie Lee’s Family from 4:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. Friday and from 9:00 A.M. until time of services Saturday at Musters in Calhoun.
The Willie Lee Johnson Family requests that expressions of sympathy take the form of donations to the Calhoun Christian Church; P.O. Box 67; Calhoun, KY 42327. Memorial contribution envelopes will be available at Musters in Calhoun.
Share your memories with Willie Lee’s Family at www.musterfuneralhomes.com.
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