ASHLAND - Leon L. Dustin, 89, died on Dec. 13, 2013, following a period of declining health at his daughter's home in Francestown.
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He was born in Campton, on June 18, 1924, the son of Leon J. and Lillian (Elias) Dustin.
After early years in Jamaica, N.Y., the family returned to New Hampshire in 1934. He attended one-room schools in Campton and Livermore Falls through the seventh grade, moving to Plymouth and graduating from Plymouth High School in 1942.
He was a veteran of World War II, serving as a machine gunner in the 20th Armored Division in the European Theater.
Honorably discharged in February, 1946, his post-war plans to become the "playboy of the Western World" were derailed and made to change when he met and married Marie Landroche of Ashland, settling in Ashland for what was to become their home and base of operations for more than 60 years.
After four years of working nights in the local woolen mill, and attending classes during the day at Plymouth Teachers College, under the auspices of the GI Bill, Leon graduated in 1951 with a degree in education. What followed, according to Leon, was "the most satisfying of careers, working with young people, helping them grow, and become young successful adults - while they were helping me to grow in so many ways."
Leon's career, teaching, coaching, and in administration in Lisbon, Franklin, and Belmont, as well as six years in the industry after retirement from education, kept them away from Ashland for 38 years. In 1990 they returned to Ashland to renew old relationships and enjoy their retirement. Both Leon and Marie became very involved with the local American Legion Post and their projects; Leon was elected post-commander in 1993 and continued in that office for 12 consecutive years, while Marie was elected president of the auxiliary in 1994 and remained in that office for 11 consecutive years. Their 69 year romance and marriage ended in October 2006 with Marie's passing after a period of declining health. Leon was predeceased by his parents, a brother Charles and a sister Elaine. He is survived by his son Larry of Bennington, daughter Lisa Perreault of Francestown, and grandchildren, Jason Dustin of Gulfport, Fla.; and Jonathan Roth, Taylor Roth, and Darian Perreault, all of Francestown.
SERVICES: Calling hours will be on Wednesday evening, Dec. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Dupuis Funeral Home, 11 Hill Avenue, Ashland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Hill Avenue, Ashland, at 11 a.m. Spring burial will be in Green Grove Cemetery in Ashland.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Leon's memory may be made to the Dupuis Cross Post 15, American Legion Scholarship Fund; P.O. Box 423, Ashland, 03217. Dupuis Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. For more information, go to www.dupuisfuneralhome.com.
Published in Union Leader on Dec. 16, 2013