Leroy (Lee) E. Gliem, 81, a resident of Wayne Woodland Manor (formerly of Whitehall and Lakeville, Pa.), passed away Sunday with his wife of 47 years, the former Donna Waldron, his son, David Gliem, and daughter, Jessica Julian, by his bedside.
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Born in Hazleton in 1932, he was the son of the late Arthur A. and Anna M. Smith Gliem. A 1950 graduate of Hazleton Area High School, Lee enlisted in the Air Force in 1953, and retired in 1973 at the rank of Major, after a distinguished 20-year career of service as a master navigator. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam, and was a member of the highly-selective Air Commandos, volunteering for many dangerous missions in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. As a member of the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Lee navigated aircraft into typhoons and on rescue missions, saving countless lives, including the downed crew of a B-52. He attended the University of Nevada from 1956 to 1957 and Florida State University from 1963 to 1965, where he studied Spanish language and culture. After retiring from the Air Force, Lee worked for 13 years as distribution manager for Rodale Press in Emmaus, Pa. He also worked for 10 years in the same capacity for Hill's Imports, located in Allentown, Pa., before retiring in 1997.
Leroy believed strongly in a life of service to others. He served as president of the Whitehall Public Library, was a member of the Whitehall Lions Club, serving as president from 1989-90, and in 2004 was honored by the Lions Club International as a Melvin Jones Fellow. Lee was especially concerned with children's causes, and was a lifelong contributor to Smile Train, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Child Fund International.
Later in life, Lee was an avid reader, especially of American history, politics and autobiographies. He loved to travel, and had traveled all over South America, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.
Also surviving are a son, David Gliem and his wife, Valerie, St. Petersburg, Fla.; a daughter, Jessica Julian and her husband, Patrick, Wilmington, Del.; sisters, Jean Gliem, Francis Kelly and Dorothy Eby; a brother, Harold Gliem, all of Hazlelton; grandchildren, Gretel and Maggie Gliem and Isabella and Francesca Julian; several nieces and nephews; great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was also preceded in death by brothers, Carl, Donald and Earl Gliem; and a sister, Hazel Reimer.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in St. Mary's Church, St. Mary's Church Road, Ledgedale, by the Rev. Stephen Stavoy, pastor.
Friends may call Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. in the James Wilson Funeral Home, 143 Gravity Road, Lake Ariel.
Interment with full military honors will be at a future date in Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in Lee's name to Smile Train (a donor page has been created in his honor), St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or Child Fund International.
For directions, to share a memory or to leave the family a condolence, please visit www.jameswilsonfuneralhome.com.
James H Wilson Funeral Home Inc
143 Gravity Road
Lake Ariel, PA 18436
Published in Scranton Times on July 29, 2014