HOLYOKE - Leon S. Slanda, 89, a resident of the Holyoke Soldiers Home, passed away Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at Linda Manor, surrounded by his loving family.
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He was born Jan. 16, 1924, in Hadley, the son of the late John and Mary (Matusek) Slanda.
He graduated from Hopkins Academy and entered the Army upon graduation. He was a member of the 110th A.A.A. Gun Battalion during World War II. He was one of the second wave of soldiers to land on the beach in Normandy. To which he said, "That was a sight you'd never seen in your life. It looked like there were enough boats to walk back to England across the Channel". His company also had a special assignment of escorting the legendary reporter Ernie Pyle. For his service he received a "Special Diploma" from the government of France for his contribution in the fight to liberate France from the axis powers in World War II.
After returning home, he worked as a toolmaker, retiring from Kollmorgen. He was a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers as well as a member of the American Hadley American Legion Post 271 for 68 years.
He was predeceased by his wife Stacia (Vandoloski) Slanda and his brother Joseph Slanda.
He leaves his daughter Barbara Boudway and her husband Jeff of Leeds; his grandchildren Heather Duggan and her husband John of Georgetown and Ryan Boudway and his wife Jeannette of South Bend, Ind.; two great-grandsons, Jack Edward Duggan and Cal Leon Boudway; his sisters-in-law Monica Vandoloski of Cummington and Adele Windoloski of Holyoke; several nephews and a very special niece.
Calling hours will be Sunday, May 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Czelusniak Funeral home of Northampton.
A private burial with full military honors will be held in Holy Rosary cemetery in Hadley.
The family would like to thank the staff at Linda Manor and the Holyoke Soldiers Home for their love, care and compassion towards Leon during the past few years.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Linda Manor, 349 Haydenville Road, Leeds, MA 01053 or the Holyoke Soldiers Home, 110 Cherry St., Holyoke, MA 01040.
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Czelusniak Funeral Home
173 North Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on May 17, 2013