NEENAH - Major General James J. “Jay” Lison, Jr., USA, Ret., age 98 of Neenah, passed away on Friday, June 7, 2019. He is survived by his four children, Kathy (Pat) O’Neill; Peter Lison; Susan (Colonel James, USA, Ret.) Armstrong; and Joan (Dr. Paul) Orchard. Other survivors include his twelve grandchildren, Timothy O’Neill, Michael O’Neill, Shawn O’Neill, and Megan O’Neill Volker; Patricia (Umer) Lison-Sheikh and James J. “Jay” (Keali) Lison; Jennifer (Lieutenant Colonel Micah, USMC) Miller, Christine (Lieutenant Colonel Ben, USA) Iverson, and Captain Peter Armstrong, USAF; Christina (Tom) Dougherty, Alex Orchard and Ryan Orchard. In addition, he is survived by 13 great-grandchildren. Jay was preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Marian; by two great-grandchildren; his parents, James J. Lison, Sr. and Margaret Van Dycke Lison; by his daughter-in-law, Christy Lison; and by his sister, Carol Hanson.
General Lison was born in Green Bay on October 23, 1920. He graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1938, where he met the love of his life, Marian Kehl, and graduated from St. Norbert College in 1942. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant, Infantry, prior to his college graduation, and was ordered to active duty at the U.S. Army Infantry Replacement Training Center, Fort McClellan, Ala on June 10, 1942. He returned to Green Bay to marry his sweetheart on September 11, 1942 and returned to Fort McClellan a married man. His next assignment was to the 222nd Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division in June of 1943. He served with Company A 222nd Infantry Regiment, and later in the G-3 Section, Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division, in the European theater of Operations in France, Germany, and Austria from November 1944 until January 1946. Separated from active duty in March 1946, he accepted immediate assignment to the U.S. Army Reserve. In November 1947, his Army Reserve unit commander, then organizing a Wisconsin National Guard regiment, recruited him to organize and command Tank Company, 426th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. In 1951, he was assigned to the G-3 Section, Headquarters, 32 Infantry Division. In 1953, he transferred to State Headquarters, Wisconsin Army National Guard, to accept full-time employment in the state Adjutant General’s Office, where he served in a variety of staff assignments, culminating in his appointment by Governor Warren Knowles as the State Adjutant General in February 1969. He was promoted to Brigadier General in December 1968, and to Major General in March 1970. He retired from the active National Guard in 1980, and from state employment in the Department of Military Affairs in 1983.
General Lison is a graduate of the Rifle and Heavy Weapons Basic Officers Course at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Ga. (1943), the Infantry Officers Advanced Course, by correspondence, and the Associate Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, KS (1966), as well as many short courses at a variety of Active Army schools. Awards and Decorations include the Legion of Merit, with Oak Leaf Cluster (second award), the Bronze Star Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (two campaigns-Rhineland and Central Europe), the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, as well as a number of State decorations and awards.
To his family, he will always be remembered as the ultimate measure of a man, exemplifying integrity, kindness, humility, and unconditional love. They will miss him so!
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 602 Everglade Dr., Madison at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 21, 2019. Friends may call at the church, from 9:30 a.m. until the hour of service. Jay will join Marian at Resurrection Cemetery, Madison.