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George Leoleis

Obituary
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George Leoleis, 92, a highly decorated WWII Paratrooper | one of the original Devils in Baggy Pants- and longtime Marlborough resident, died peacefully on Monday, June 24, 2013 in his home surrounded by his loving family. He joins his one true love, Diana (Giannakopoulos) Leoleis to whom he was married for 65 wonderful years before her passing in 2011. He is survived by his children, Dennis G. of North Grafton and his wife, Joyce, Nicholas G. of South Grafton, Christe G. of Marlborough and his wife Vera, George Jr. of Marlborough, and Anastasia of Marlborough and her husband, Raymond Dilling. George was also an adoring Papouli (Pa) to 7 grandchildren; Kimberly Leoleis, Nicholas J. Leoleis and his wife Heather, Christe M. Leoleis and his wife Becca, and Daniel, George and Henry Dilling. He was predeceased by his beloved grandson, Mark Leoleis in 1998. Born in the town of Lechaina, Greece, on April 23, 1921, he was the son of Dennis and Irene (Kanelos) Kostopoulos. George immigrated to the United States sailing on The Saturnia to Ellis Island when he was nine years old where he received his cherished citizenship. There, like many other mmigrants of that time, his surname was inadvertently changed. He lived in New York City where he attended the Peter Stuyvesant High School before enlisting in the Army at 18. George was a charter member of the 82nd Airborne, 504 PIR, 3rd Battalion, Company I during WWII. A Sergeant, he started out in Casablanca and was involved in campaigns in Sicily, Salerno, Central Italy, Naples, Anzio, France, Holland, Belgium and Germany. George was part of the elite unit that fought valiantly and tenaciously, at Hil l 950, Battle of the Bulge, Denhuevel Woods, and made the famous river crossing at Nijmegen Bridge in Arnhem, Holland which was immortalized in the movie, A Bridge Too Far. Georges bravery and service to the United States with the 82nd Airborne, earned him the following medals: the Belgium Fourragere, The Order of William (the first non-Dutch unit to receive the Netherlands highest decoration), the French Fourragere, the Holland Fourragere, the Netherland Lanyard, two Bronze Stars, seven Bronze Battle Stars, one Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster, the first European Presidential Unit Citation with two clusters, WWII Victory Award, Good Conduct Medal, the United States Freedom Award, the European African and Mid East Award and the Occupation Award. After returning home from the war, George married his longtime sweetheart, Diana. Just like the old paratrooper saying, May all your landings be soft ones, their love, was his soft place to land. They started a family and set down roots in Marlborough. George was a builder and developer of many beautiful homes in the Marlborough area. As a lasting tribute to his wife, he named two city streets in Marlborough in her honor, Diana Drive and Leoleis Drive. George was an active and contributing member of the community, serving as President of Sts. Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church, President of the local chapter of The Ahepa, and President of the Lyons Club. His annual Christmas lights and displays brought many people joy and happiness for over sixty years. He enjoyed golfing bowling, and ishing. As an avid hunter, his astonishing feat of felling two pheasant with two single shots from a bolt action, . 22 caliber rifle, was chronicled by the Associated Press. In his early years, George was an accomplished athlete and played on a semi-pro baseball team in New York City, as well as handball. One of Georges most treasured accomplishments as a youth w as winning a music award at Wingate Junior High P.S. 40. George never lost his love of singing and would often regale his family with old standards, such as Lili Marlene, T ake Me Out to the Ball Game, Let Me Call You Sweetheart and You Are My Sunshine. George lived by the credo written in his Junior High autograph book by his teacher, Be friends with one, be friends with all, but if the crowd deserts you, stand just as fiercely alone. Georges crowning achievement is that of author at age 69, of the book , MEDALS (1990) which is an autobiographical account of his experiences as a paratrooper in WWII. Although this was his story he strongly believed that he wrote the story of all soldiers documenting the bravery and tenacity of the American fighting man. Despite all of his accomplishments and earning many medals, George, a devoted husband and father, always felt his six most important medals were his wife and his children. Even to his final day, he was forever the optimist, his spirits never waned on his outlook on life; always saying, Any day you are alive is a good day His funeral will be held Friday, June 28, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. from the John P. Rowe Funeral Home with services to follow at 10:00 a.m. at the Sts. Anargyroi Greek Orthodox Church at 9 Central Street, Marlborough, MA. Burial with Military Honors to follow at Evergreen Cemetary on Wilson Street in Marlborough. Visiting hours are at funeral home on Thursday, June 27, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. | 8:00 p.m., 57 Main Street, Marlborough, MA. Donations may be made in Georges memory to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

Published in MetroWest Daily News from June 25 to June 26, 2013
Funeral Home
John P Rowe Funeral Home Inc
57 Main St Marlborough, MA 01752
(508) 485-0855
Funeral Home Details
bullet Army bullet Bronze Star bullet Purple Heart bullet WWII
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