Leonard W. Johnson, 79, of West Philadelphia, who founded the Spruce Street Medical Center in 1965 and an adjacent adolescent counseling center in 1980, died of prostate cancer Saturday at Presbyterian Medical Center.
Born in Orlando, Fla., Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1950 from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College in Tallahassee. The next year he married Annie Gibson. He was head of the science departments in Osceola County, Fla., public schools until moving to West Philadelphia in 1960.
The Johnsons lived first at 5198 Spruce St. and raised a son, Ronald. After graduating in 1964 from what is now the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Johnson bought property at 51st and Spruce and opened the medical center the next year. For the rest of his life, Dr. Johnson practiced medicine out of the center and lived in the house next door. He also had privileges to practice at several hospitals.
In 1980 at his clinic, Dr. Johnson opened the Spruce Street Adolescent Counseling and Education Center, which provides substance-abuse, AIDS and HIV and health counseling. The centers will remain open.
"My father held a free clinic for the public since 1979 on each Saturday before Mother's Day, offering gynecological, blood-pressure, vision and hearing screening," his son said. "That was a special day in the community. He died on the Saturday before Mother's Day."
Dr. Johnson's clinic sponsored a health academy at nearby Locke Elementary School, where he treated students and encouraged them to consider a career in health care. He also sponsored a scholarship in his mother's memory at Bright Hope Baptist Church, where Dr. Johnson was a member of the board.
"My father took a busload of high school students to his alma mater each year," his son said. "He helped more than 40 Philadelphia kids get scholarships to Florida A&M."
In addition to his wife and son, Dr. Johnson is survived by a granddaughter.
Friends may call at 9 a.m. Saturday at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 12th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, where a funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Orlando.
Memorial donations may be made to the Leonard Johnson D.O. Scholarship, Spruce Adolescent Counseling and Education Center, Box 24103, Philadelphia 19139.