Colonel Gerald "Gerry" A. Leen (USAF Retired), 99 of Silverdale, WA died December 7, 2015. He was born on April 3, 1916 in Cupar, Saskatchewan, Canada, to Emma and Mindert Leen from Holland. The family immigrated to the Pacific Northwest in 1919, residing in Whidbey Island, then Ferndale, Lynden, and Everson. Colonel Leen attended Lynden and Mount Baker Union High Schools. He is a graduate of L.L. Adcox Trade School of Portland, OR in Diesel Engineering. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1937, becoming an aircraft mechanic and supply technician. He attended the University of Washington during 1939-1940, at which time he received a flying cadet appointment. Upon completion of flight training he was commissioned in the Army Air Corps. His first five years were spent giving flight training to advanced students and instructor training to experienced military pilots. In 1941, he married the former Florence Hendrickson of Bremerton, WA, in San Antonio, TX. The remainder of his twenty-seven years of service in the US Air Force was spent in logistical career fields and command-pilot flight assignments. Colonel Leen has 5,000 accident-free flying hours in 35 different types of aircraft. He flew in the Berlin Airlift. Tours of service took him to Hawaii, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, and numerous bases in the U.S. He retired from the Air Force in 1964 and was employed for 12 years by the Renton School District as Director of Manpower Training and Director of Purchasing. After retiring from the school district, he resided in Belfair on Hood Canal and at the Crista Shores Retirement Community in Silverdale, where he and wife Florence were charter members. He remained active in church, fraternal, community, and military activities. He was a member of the Central Kitsap Presbyterian Church, Hood Canal Lodge No. 288 F&AM, The Military Officers Association of America, Air Force Association, and the Air Force Flying School Class of 40-G Association. His wife Florence preceded him in death in June 1998. He is survived by sons Monte of Bellevue, WA and La Quinta, CA, and Brian of Albuquerque, NM; daughter Gerri of Reston, VA; three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren. Services will be at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, December 16th at Central Kitsap Presbyterian Church, Silverdale, WA. Internment will be at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Good Samaritan Fund, Crista Shores, 1600 NW Crista Shores Lane, Silverdale, WA 98383-9101.
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Published in Bellingham Herald on Dec. 15, 2015