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Lee Johnson Auto Family

Community, generosity, and deep Kirkland roots

Lee Johnson Auto Family

Peterson Russell Kelly Livengood is proud to have represented Kirkland, Washington-based Lee Johnson Auto Family for almost ninety years.  This multi-generational client relationship, spanning three generations of the Johnson family, began just four years after the dealership was founded.

In 1933 when the Kirkland telephone directory consisted of only ten pages, Leroy E. Johnson began an 88-year venture.  In a converted Kirkland, Washington garage, the twenty-six-year-old launched a legacy that defined the Johnson family and much of Seattle’s eastside.  Leroy believed that a strong commitment to giving back and supporting the local community was simply part of running a business.  It was an attribute he instilled throughout the dealership and throughout his family.

In 1935 Maury Powell opened the first eastside law firm in Kirkland, Washington.  This firm later became known as Livengood Alskog and today as Peterson Russell Kelly Livengood.

These two young aspiring entrepreneurs were also best friends.  It only seemed natural that Leroy would hire Maury’s law firm to serve as legal counsel for his new business.  And so began a lifetime friendship and enduring client relationship that continues to this day.

In 1937, one of the first organizations created to support the Kirkland community – Kirkland Rotary – was formed.  Johnson and forty other Kirkland business leaders became charter members.  Still in existence today, the Kirkland Rotary club has supported countless community events and thousands of people in the Kirkland community.

Lee Johnson AutoStarting a business in the 1930’s was tough enough but the next decade proved one of the most challenging for the country.  On December 7, 1941, Leroy and Maury were golfing with their wives.  Shortly after they left the golf course, radio reports announced the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  A shocked country declared war on Japan and the very next day Leroy and Maury enlisted in the military together.

War years brought conservation and, along with many industries, automotive production came to a halt while all efforts went into winning the war.  In 1945 the war ended, Johnson returned to Kirkland and auto production was in full swing again.

Fast forward to almost ninety years later.  Leroy Johnson’s auto business has grown significantly and remained an eastside pillar, while Maury Powell’s law firm has evolved to meet the region’s ever changing legal needs.  Leroy’s grandchildren are now at the helm honoring their grandfather’s legacy.

As a testament to the Johnson family and business culture, over thirty employees have been with the dealership for ten years while others have been happily employed there for decades.

“Lee Johnson Advantage” is a motto the Johnson Family lives by to this day:  We, the Lee Johnson Auto Family, believe that a fun place to work encourages loyalty, respect, and trust. We consciously promote a culture where employees can thrive, work hard and make decisions in the best interest of our customers and our company.  

So much has transformed since Leroy and Maury’s friendship began, since the dealership started, and since the law firm opened its doors.  With the various changes covering almost nine decades, however, the strength of this age-old friendship and client relationship has remained the same.


For more information about the dealership, visit Lee Johnson Auto Family or contact Brett Johnson (bjohnson@leejohnson.com). For information about the services PRK Livengood provides to businesses like Lee Johnson, please contact the dealership’s PRK Livengood attorneys David B. Johnston or John J. White.

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