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Oklahoma tornadoes: Victim came to Oklahoma to start new life

Leslie Johnson, 46, from St. Louis, was a family man at heart, who loved to laugh and joke with his children.
by Brianna Bailey Modified: June 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm •  Published: June 8, 2013

Before he died in the May 20 tornado, Leslie Johnson, 46, promised to return for the family he left behind in St. Louis.

“He was doing his best to come back for his family and now we are having to bring his remains back here,” said his ex-wife, Jackie Johnson, 36.

Recently divorced, Johnson moved to Oklahoma City from St. Louis earlier this year to start a new life and find a better job with girlfriend Tawauna Robinson, 45, who also died in the tornado.

He called his three children Sasha, 16; Leslie Jr. 13; and Myles, 6, “the three amigos.”

A family man at heart, he loved his children and always laughed and joked with them, Jackie Johnson said.

“He was always thinking about us, and would go out of his way to get whatever we wanted,” she said. “If I wanted a piece of candy, he would walk two miles to get it.”

After their divorce last year, Leslie and Jackie Johnson stayed on friendly terms, talking on the phone about their children frequently, she said.

She last spoke to him the day before the tornado about their son Myles' kindergarten graduation. Jackie Johnson promised to send him pictures of the ceremony, but was only able to successfully send one photograph from her phone the next day before the tornado struck.

“I really hope he got to see it,” she said.

A memorial ceremony in St. Louis will celebrate Leslie Johnson's life next week.

“It's hard for us to accept that he's gone,” Jackie Johnson said. “We don't have pictures of him — we don't have anything to show that he really died.”

by Brianna Bailey
Business Writer
Brianna Bailey has lived in Idaho, Germany and Southern California, but Oklahoma is her adopted home. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and has worked at several newspapers in Oklahoma and Southern...
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