Lee Alfred Johnson, 78, of Hamilton passed away Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at St. Patrick’s Hospital from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was born July 24, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Francis and Edith F. Johnson. He grew up there with his sister and two brothers, attended college and The Chicago Art Institute and began his lifelong devotion to the Cubs baseball team. In his twenties he moved to California and later worked for many years as a manager for Aaron Brothers Art Mart where he learned the skill of picture framing and was known as the ‘CloseOut King’. In 1985 he met the love of his life, Marva Wilson. They were married at a ceremony in Hamilton on August 11, 1988. They permanently relocated from California to the Bitterroot Valley in 1991 where Lee fulfilled his lifelong dream of opening his own frame shop and collectible store, Mountain View Art and Framing at the Stevensville Junction. He had an eye for interesting finds and antiques and enjoyed seeking them out at yard sales and auctions. The shop could always be counted on for excellent framing as well as unique treasures, all presented with Lee’s spirited and fun loving salesmanship and beautifully displayed with his hand lettered signs. Lee was a serious movie buff and an avid fisherman who enjoyed the beauty of Montana. He had a deep appreciation for classical music and composing greats like John Williams. He especially loved the Christmas season which he firmly believed extended from mid-November to mid-February. Lee and Marva have, in fact, hosted Christmas Open Houses well into February with the fire extinguisher close at hand to the brittle tree. He had a particular knack for thoughtful and unique gift giving for all occasions (or no occasion at all) and it wasn’t unusual to receive a jar of his favorite mustard from Chicago. His elegant handwriting graced many heartfelt cards and little notes just to cheer our way. Lee was an exuberant man with a big personality and a generous heart. He will be missed. Lee is survived by his wife Marva, of Hamilton, 2 stepsons, Mark Wilson of Florence, MT and Brien Wilson (Yasmine) of Denver, CO, three grandsons, one granddaughter, and three nephews; Stevan Johnson, Forrest Johnson, and Preston Niederer. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Richard Johnson, brother Paul Johnson and sister Phyllis Niederer. A private family interment will take place. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
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