Wilson Frank Leon, 92, a resident of Jacksonville Beach, FL, died peacefully at Hadlow Hospice, on January 12, 2013. The son of Frank Slovitis and Eleanor Willis Slovitis Leon, was born December 7, 1920, in Houston Run, PA, spent his youth and many years of his adult life in Pittsburgh, PA, before moving to Hilton Head Island, SC, and several locations in Florida
Wilson was proud to serve his country as an upper turret gunner with the 829th Bomber Squadron, 485th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force at the Venosa, Italy, Army Air Field during WWII. Wilson and fellow crew members parachuted from their B-24 Liberator when it exploded after flying into fire on a bombing mission over Salonika, Greece in September 1944. The survivors were captured and held as prisoners of war by the Nazis. The crew members survived the horrible conditions and eventually were able to escape. Wilson was awarded a Prisoner of War Medal, Purple Heart, Air Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and an Amercian Campaign. Following the war, Wilson returned to Pittsuburgh, where he worked in the moving and transportation industry until his retirement.
Survivors include two daughters, Ardyth Jane (Stephen) Redfern and Judith Ann Leon; five grandchildren, Rebekah Leon (Taylor) Filer, Mary Leon (Brian) Hall, Julia Redfern (Chad) Boggs, Daniel Leon Demchak, Kevin Wilson Demchak; and great-grandchildren Emma Noel Filer, Katherine MacMillan Filer, Finn Taylor Filer, Alexander Lee Boggs, and Caitlyn Kirby Boggs. Additional survivors include his stepchildren Dian Kenlan (Randall) Munson, Jay Kenlan, Kevin Kenlan, Christopher Kenlan, and their families.
Wilson was preceded in death by his wife Joyce Kenlan Leon, his first wife Harriett Klingensmith Leon, his son, Robert John Leon, and a granddaughter, Barbara Ann Leon.
The family would like to thank the owners and staff of the 3rd Street Diner in Jacksonville Beach for the care and comfort they provided Wilson during the final weeks of life.
A military ceremony will be held at the Jacksonville National Cemetery at a later date.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin, 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223. www.hgmandarin.com (904) 288-0025.