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smLISONMaj. Gen. James Lison Jr., served as Wisconsin’s adjutant general from 1969 to 1977. His military career, which began in 1942, exceeds 40 years. Wisconsin National Guard file photo

Maj. Gen. James Lison Jr., Wisconsin’s adjutant general from 1969 to 1977, died June 7. He was 98 years old.

Lison was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1942 upon graduating from the Reserve Officer Training Course at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin. He served on active duty from 1942 to 1946, of which 14 months was in the European Theater as a rifle company officer, combat liaison officer and assistant operations officer with the 42nd “Rainbow” Division.

Lison accepted an immediate assignment in the Army Reserve, but transferred to the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1948 to organize and command a tank company based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He served as personnel and administrative officer for the adjutant general from 1959 to 1967, when he was named deputy adjutant general.

Lison was appointed adjutant general Feb. 5, 1969, a week after his predecessor, Maj. Gen. Ralph Olson, was killed in a plane crash at Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. He retired from the Wisconsin National Guard Oct. 31, 1980, and continued working at the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs as a state employee until April 30, 1983.

Lison expressed his gratitude to the Wisconsin National Guard when he resigned as adjutant general, saluting the Guard’s state active duty service for civil disturbances, highway traffic emergencies, and natural disasters during his tenure.

“Lives have been saved, property protected and essential services maintained,” Lison said. “I am grateful to every man and woman … I know each of them will give the new adjutant general the same dedicated support I have enjoyed since February of 1969. I look forward to my continued association with the fine men and women of the National Guard.”

Lison’s awards include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal for his service in World War II, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

The funeral service will be held Friday, June 21 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Madison, Wisconsin beginning at 11 a.m. Lison will be buried next to his wife Marian at Resurrection Cemetery in Madison.


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