Leon Johnsrud, 81
Mon, 12/28/2020 - 5:06pm admin
July 22, 1939 —
Dec. 21, 2020
DES MOINES - Leon J. Johnsrud, age 81, passed away on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 at his home in Des Moines, Iowa.
A private family service will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, at St. Ambrose Cathedral, where Leon regularly attended Mass.
He loved a good story, a good cocktail and a good laugh, and his life will be celebrated in that manner at a future time.
Leon was born on July 22, 1939 in Cresco, Iowa to Stuart and Grace (Barnes) Johnsrud. He graduated from Rudolphinum High School in Protivin, Iowa and then enlisted in the Army. Following his service, he attended Upper Iowa University and Creighton University.
He worked for the FBI while living in Omaha, Neb., and it was in Omaha where he met Jude Wilkins. They married in 1961 and had two children, Stuart and Jackie, whom they raised in Cresco. In 1989, Leon married Gail Frazier, and they later divorced.
Leon’s work ethic was seeded while working at his father’s cheese factory in Schley, Iowa. A lifelong career in trucking began while picking up milk from local farmers and delivering it to the factory. In the early 1960s, he purchased a used semi-truck and began driving long-haul as a means to support his family. An entrepreneur at heart, Leon grew his business, finding opportunity in hauling milk and vegetable oils in tanker trucks. The family and business, Johnsrud Transport Inc., relocated to Des Moines in 1980 to further opportunities for growth. He continued to come to the office until COVID-19 made that no longer possible. Leon gave generously to those around him and was particularly proud of the long-term tenure of many of his employees, including family members.
He is survived by his daughter, Jackie (Jeff) Gordon of Bondurant, Iowa; three siblings, T.J. Johnsrud of Conrad, Iowa and Linda Gebhardt and Lowell Johnsrud, both of Des Moines; and former wife and friend, Jude Johnsrud of Johnston, Iowa, along with many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Stuart; and brother-in-law, Bill Gebhardt.
Memorials may be directed to St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High Street, Des Moines, IA 50309 or to a charity of your choice.