DAVENPORT -- Frank D. “Peewee” Johansen, 91, of Davenport, passed away Monday, November 4, 2019, at Riverview Manor in Pleasant Valley, Iowa.
As was his wish, cremation rights have been accorded. There will be no public visitation and a private burial with military honors will be held at a later date in Davenport Memorial Park Cemetery. Cunnick – Collins Mortuary & Cremation Service is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Frank Dale Johansen was born July 7, 1928, in Pleasant Valley, Iowa, the son of Frank and Ellen (Mackey) Johansen. At the age of 15, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps with his mother’s permission. During WWII, he received reconnaissance and sniper training and fought at the Battle of Peleliu, Palau, one of the western islands in the Pacific. He served with honor and received several medals of commendation as a Gunnery Sergeant with the 1st Division – 1st Marines
Frank also fought at Wilson’s Ridge in Okinawa. When Frank was injured and taken onto the hospital ship, the Colonel came in and asked Frank if he could still get up and walk, Frank replied, “Yes” and was sent back out into the battle. When he received the Purple Heart, there were small pieces of shrapnel taken from his legs tied to the medal. As a Marine, Frank enjoyed volunteering for Toys for Tots and collecting new and used toys.
Following his military obligations, and returning home, Frank worked as a heavy equipment operator for Walsh Construction in Davenport on the construction of Alcoa.
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When the Korean War broke out, Frank was called back to duty, this time with the United States Army. He was stationed with the 5th Division as a forward observer spending much of his time above the 38th Parallel. He did a lot of reconnaissance missions where he would radio back information of the enemy’s locations and bombing coordinates. After being injured in Kumsong, Korea, and upon receiving his second Purple Heart, he was honorably discharged from the Army with the rank of Sergeant. Upon his return home, he was hired at Alcoa where he worked for 30 years until his retirement.
In his youth, Frank was an avid ice skater and won several speed skating competitions. He taught several young people at Credit Island and Vander veer Park how to ice skate. It was not uncommon years later for people to come up to Frank and say,” hey, you don’t remember me, but you taught me how to ice skate when I was young.”
Frank was also known as the guy that walked in the middle of Kimberly Road almost every day. With his black mustache and long cigar, he would walk several miles a day. He always had a smile and a wave for anyone who honked.
Those left to honor his memory are his special Friends - John & Elaine Behning of Lehigh Acres, Fl, Dan & Dot Sundholm of Davenport, Bob Behning of Blue Grass, Iowa, and his fur baby, “Gracie” (Little Girl)
He was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather, a sister Lois, a brother Russell, and his special fur buddy, “Truffles”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warriors Foundation.
Online memories and condolences may be left to the family at Cunnick-Collins.com.