Willard L. Leeds (Will), was home in Depoe Bay and holding his wife's hand as he peacefully slipped from this world at the age of 102 1/2 on September 8, 2017. Will was born in Glendale, California to Lodowick and Esther Leeds on January 15, 1915 and was the oldest of four children. He graduated form Redondo Union High School in 1932 and worked for Safeway Stores from 1932— 1936, when he entered the University of California — Berkley (UC Berkley). He met Fay Johnson while attending UC Berkley and working as a hasher (waiter) at Phi Omega Sorority. Will and Fay were married in April of 1939. Will then attended San Jose State College and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1940. After graduation, Will began working for Permanente Metals as a research chemist. He was exempt from the armed services due to his employment in a profession supporting the war effort, however Will felt the need to serve his country and in 1942 joined the Navy and was commissioned an Ensign.
As part of his Navy service, Will attended CalTech and in 1943 receiving his Masters in Meteorology. He served in Trinidad, Dutch and British Guiana as a meteorologist and ended his war service on the Aircraft Carrier USS Bogue (CVE9) as their Weather Officer. During his service on the USS Bogue he served in the north Atlantic and passed through the Panama Canal and was sailing toward Saipan when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. He was discharged from the Navy in 1945, but remained in the Naval Reserves until his retirement with the rank of Captain.
Following his discharge in 1945, Will became the Chief Meteorologist for Pan-American Grace Airlines and moved with Fay to Lima, Peru. They enjoyed two years of adventures in Peru before returning to the US in 1947 for the birth of their son Michael. After moving back to San Francisco Will attended graduate school at Stanford University and received his Secondary Education Credential. He taught Special Education in San Francisco for one year before being accepted into the University of Illinois — Champaign Urbana PhD program in 1948.
In 1949 Will was asked to serve a part of the Japan Occupation Force for the Institute of Education Leadership — the Training Wing for Japanese Professionals. For nearly a year, his young family stayed in the US while Will lived in Japan. In 1950, Will returned to Illinois to complete his PhD and in 1951 while writing his dissertations, joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska where their daughter Christine was born. Will received his PhD in Science Education and Meteorology in 1952. Later that year, Will joined the faculty of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1953 Will and his family moved back to California when Fay's became seriously ill. Will then joined the faculty at San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University).
In 1959, Will took a leave of absence from San Francisco State to head a team from the University of Chicago on a Ford Foundation funded program in Pakistan. The family moved to Pakistan for a two year assignment. In 1961, Will returned to San Francisco State until 1963 when he was asked to join the faculty of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee/Madison) as the Dean of Graduate Studies. He worked extensively in international education programs and became Director of the International Institute for Planning and Research.
In 1965, Will and his family moved to Caracas, Venezuela for two years after receiving a Ford Foundation/VenezueIa Ministry of Education grant. Will continued to work in South and Central America after returning to the US in 1967. In 1969 Will was awarded the Order of Andres Bello by the Government of Venezuela.
In 1971, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) bombed locations at the University of Wisconsin and looted and burned Will's offices resulting in the cancellation and support for International Programs. After the cancellation of the International Programs in Wisconsin, Will and Fay moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he joined the faculty of Nova University. Will's focus was the development of Master's and Doctoral programs in many Latin American countries.
From 1978 until his retirement in mid 1979, Will organized and set-up a satellite campus for Nova University in Coral Springs, Florida.
In 1980 Will and Fay moved to Depoe Bay, Oregon. After retirement, Will was free to pursue his passion for model railroading. He constructed a model railroad layout in a large room off his garage and spent thousands of hours on his railroad, Del Padre Western Lines. He received internal recognition as Master Model Railroader #406 in 2008. Will attended classes learning calligraphy and taught courses in meteorology and construction of models for model railroading at the local community college. Then there were the annual Christmas cards! Will and Fay thrilled friends and family each year with their beautiful hand made Christmas cards and ornaments.
Will was diagnosed with macular degeneration and lost most of his central vision in 2004, but he would not allow this to slow him down or limit his pursuits.
Will's loving and supportive wife of 66 years, Fay passed away in 2005. Although very lonely, Will continued to be very active and enjoy his family and friends.
In 2006, Will married his friend of many years, Maggie Manzo. Will and Maggie enjoyed more than eleven years of marriage and continued gardening, the annual Christmas card tradition and hosting many, many family and friends as guests in their happy home.
Will had a wonderful life full of adventures and new experiences, surely enough to last three lifetimes. He was a modest and caring soul and was always a nurturer and forever a teacher. He never stopped learning and asking questions. He had a unique ability to make and keep friends from all walks of life including students dating back to the 1960's. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother, uncle, mentor and friend. He is gone from our presence but will live in our hearts and souls forever. His wonderful influence, friendship and unconditional love and support will remain his legacy. He will not be forgotten.
He is survived by his wife Maggie of Depoe Bay, son Mike and wife Melissa of Mead CO, daughter
Chris of Neshkoro WI, sister Marjorie Jean of Buzzards Bay, MA, sister-in-law Dottie of Billings, MT, grand children Jessica, A.J. and Joe. He is also survived by seven great grand children and many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews. He had a special relationship with friends Greg Harley and Marty McCarthy. He was predeceased by his parents, Lodowick and Esther, wife Fay, brother Ray and sister Ruth.
He requested no funeral services.
Memorials may be made in the memory of Captain Will Leeds to: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Attn: Andrea Rand, 201 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314 or in memory of Will Leeds to: National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) PO Box 1328, Soddy Daisy, TN 37384-1328.