VISTA, Calif. - With great sadness the family regrets the passing of Leslie Jantz on October 1, 2013.
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Leslie was born Aug. 31, 1922, in Dolton, S.D., to Dan and Belle Jantz. At the age of 9, his parents moved to McPherson, Kansas, and he was a graduate of McPherson High School, class of 1940.
At the beginning of WWII, he enlisted in the Army Air Force Cadet program and graduated as a pilot. He was a B-24 Liberator pilot in the 8th Air Force in England, and upon returning, was assigned to the Ferry Command in Long Beach, Calif. He was fortunate that this gave him the opportunity to fly the latest fighters, including America's first two jets.
He remained in the AF Reserve with a flying assignment and a specialty in production and procurement. At the start of the Korean War, he was recalled for 21 months and flew the B-29 Superfortress in England. He retired in 1969 as a Lt. Colonel.
In civilian life he settled in Riverside, Calif., working for California Electric Power, now part of Southern California Edison, and married Margaret Lightfoot. They had two children, Linda and Jim. Later he married Jean Abbiati of Barre, Vt., and had one son, Jay.
In 1962 he joined Westinghouse International with assignments in Calcutta, Istanbul, Manila, Seoul, Saudi Arabia, and Pittsburgh. He found work in the developing countries was especially challenging and rewarding.
Vista, Calif., was their home of choice when he retired in 1989. Even though retired, he still had the desire to participate in the community. His interest in Vista's development was a natural result of many years of community service and he actively worked both for and against proposed projects.
He had been President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, and a board member of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers. He served as president of the USO and director of Save the Children Foundation in Korea. He was a director and treasurer of the American Business Association in Saudi Arabia and assisted in the formation the American Business Council of the Gulf countries.
In North County, Calif., he belonged to the Vista Chamber of Commerce. He regularly attended a weekly breakfast meeting with current and former air enthusiasts of the Old and Bold Pilots Association. Flying was the common denominator that brought the members together. In retirement he enjoyed golf, travel and particularly companionship with his siblings.
Leslie is survived by his wife Jean, their son Jay and his companion, Anna Romero of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; his daughter Linda and her husband, Michael Sims, a granddaughter Janine Mead, all of Oregon City, Ore.; a granddaughter Kitty and her husband, Harry Schlessman of Plano, Texas; three great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. His son Jim predeceased him. He also leaves behind one brother, Myron, and three sisters, Flora Gerg, Alice Maher, and Vera Pearce. Two brothers, Ken and Dan, predeceased him.
A memorial will be held Friday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m. at El Camino Country Club in Oceanside.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to
Published in Times Argus on Oct. 6, 2013