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Johnny LeClair 
Square Dance Caller
Johnny LeClair in Square Dance Hall Of Fame
ID: 473

Johnny LeClair  

John LeClair was born in 1923 in Wyoming and spent most of his life there until he joined the Army Air Corps in 1943. He served as a tail gunner on a B-17 in the European theatre. Upon his return from the war, he married Marjorie M. Hudspeth on Nov. 24, 1947 and had two daughters, Bobbie and Donna. They lived in the Burris/Crowheart area in Wyoming on a cattle ranch.

A group of local people joined a square dance club in Riverton, Wyoming, and Johnny and Marge joined them. Once the original caller left around 1950, Johnny picked up the mic and took over which led to a 50 year adventure in a profession of square dancing, that took them to all 50 states and all but three provinces of Canada. Their two daughters were able to travel with them on many of the trips including a cruise to Cuba. Many times they were left in the care of a very dear friend, Roberta Palmer, their other Mother, "Aunt Bird."

In 1971, Johnny and Marjorie moved to Mesa, AZ to be resident caller and teachers in 5 different RV Resorts, involving square dances and various couple dances. The next 15 years, Marjorie and Johnny escorted 23 square dance tours to 62 different countries. In 1985 they escorted a golf tour, playing famous courses in Scotland and England.

Johnny was on staff at numerous weekend festivals, national conventions, callers' schools and folk dance camps. Johnny was one of the charter members of Callerlab and received its highest honor, the Milestone Award, in 1982. Johnny recorded for Sets In Order and Windsor labels.

After they retired from square dancing in 1988, they were employed as Guest Service Representatives for the Phoenix Suns Arena, Chase Ball Park and the Dodge Theatre, working many events including concerts, World Series, Suns, Diamondbacks, Coyotes, and Rattlers games, as well as circuses, plays, ice shows, and Presidential visits.

SIO's Article: It was 19 years ago this month when a young square dancer (dancing only since November of the previous year and sidelined temporarily as the result of an emergency operation) started his square dance calling, thus marking the beginning of a most unique and colorful square dance calling career. The LeClairs, Marge and Johnny, were married in 1946, shortly after Johnny was released from the Army Air Corps, having served as tail gunner in the European theatre of operations during World War II. The LeClairs' home at that time was a cattle ranch in Burris, Wyoming and Johnny spent much of his time on horseback tending the herd of Hereford cattle. Almost as soon as he started calling he found himself to be a traveling caller, for as he tells it, from Burris everything was traveling. "We even had to travel sixty miles for groceries."

In his early years as a caller two incidents left a lasting impression on the LeClairs. First was an unforgettable exposure in 1951 to Dr. Lloyd Shaw and his philosophy of square dancing. The second was attendance at the Sets in Order Asilomar Vacation Institute in 1952. In 1957 the LeClairs left Burris and moved to Riverton, Wyoming where they reside today. In addition to calling in most of the United States and Canada, Johnny has called in Cuba, Mexico and in Europe. He's recorded on Sets in Order and Windsor and continues to be one of the most popular callers in the activity today. It is with pleasure that we spotlight him as our cover caller this month.

John A. LeClair

March 5, 1923 – October 9, 2021

John LeClair of Mesa, AZ passed away October 9, 2021 at the age of 98. A Graveside Service will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander, Wyoming with Military Honors.

John was born at home on a cattle ranch near Burris, Wyoming to John L. and Ida Jackson Bradford LeClair.

John enlisted in the Army Air Corps on December 27, 1943 and served in World War II as a B-17 Tail Gunner. Based out of Italy, his crew was credited with 55 missions. He often said serving in the Military was his proudest achievement. In 2012 he appreciated being part of a WWII Honor Flight Program to Washington, DC.

John married Marjorie Hudspeth on November 24, 1946 and they celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary before Marjorie passed away in 2017.

While working on the family cattle ranch Johnny began his Square Dance Calling career in 1951 at Burris. He expanded to have local clubs in Riverton, Lander and Dubois. He would return from winter evening dances in Riverton and stop at Bull Lake to run his ling fishing lines. After moving to Riverton he began full-time calling and traveling to festivals in surrounding states. He became a well-known national touring caller often traveling over 100,000 miles per year. His career extended over 40 years and he enjoyed the opportunity to call in 49 states (sorry Rhode Island you missed out); 7 Canadian Provinces, 3 Territories and 62 other countries. In 1971, John and Marjorie moved to Mesa, AZ to be the resident caller and teachers in 5 different RV Resorts, involving square and round dancing. During the next 15 years, John and Marjorie escorted 23 international square dance tours. In 1985 they led a golf tour, playing famous courses in Scotland and England.

In 1970, his leadership and calling talent led to his induction into the Square Dance Hall of Fame. Johnny was also selected in 1971 to be one of 11 national callers to form CALLERLAB and he became an original member of the Board of Governors. He was always an Ambassador for Square Dancing, but also a strong Ambassador for Riverton, Fremont County and the State of Wyoming wherever he traveled. These national honors and recognition were the result of Johnny and Marjorie working together as a team.

Johnny was a lifetime member of the Riverton Masonic Lodge and the Kalif Shriners (Sheridan), El Zaribah (Phoenix) and served as the President of the Shriners Legion of Honor. He was also a member of the Riverton Elks club.

Upon retirement from the square dance world he worked 20 years as an usher for the Phoenix Suns, Mercury and Diamondbacks and concerts from George Strait to Lady Gaga.

John was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Marjorie and brother, Stanley. He is survived by his two daughters, Bobbie (Ken) Potter and Donna (Dave Christensen) Keeler and grandchildren; Ron (Sarah), Sara and Heather and Great-grandchildren; Jackson, Jake, Ella, Nora, DJ and Elliott; and his brother Wesley and sister-in-law Roberta Palmer and several nieces and nephews.

“I was just a simple country boy who was lucky enough to see most of the world”. -- Johnny LeClair August 2021

Please sign the on-line family registry at

Hudson’s Funeral Home and On-Site Crematory, 680 Mount Hope Drive, Lander, WY 82520

If you have any additional pertinent information about this person, please Contact Debbie.

Recordings by Johnny LeClair:
Sets In Order    Windsor    Scope    Mustang   
A Change In Me  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 143
Apron Strings  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 134
Blue River  (sample clip)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 160
Country Boy  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 105
I'll Swing You Baby  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 123
I'm Happy  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Windsor 4919
Jingle, Jangle, Jingle  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 109
Ole Man From The Mountain  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Mustang 166
Pictures  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Mustang 155
Ridin' Down The Canyon  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 154
Singing The Blues  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Windsor 4944
Skipping Along  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 117
Sugar Blues  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 113
Thanks For The Mem'ries  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Mustang 148
Wallpaper Roses  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Scope 513
We'll Swing At The Square Dance Hall  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Scope 508
You're The Reason  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Sets In Order 128

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