Leon G. Smith, age 53, of Maumee, OH, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, December 9, 2012. Leon was born in Orlando, Florida on August 28, 1959, to Ralph F. and Eva Marie (Swartz) Smith. He was a 1977 graduate of Maumee High School.
Leon spent his life serving his country as a member of the U.S. Army since 1977. He spent his first years on active duty as a field artilleryman in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Korea, Ft. Ord, California and Germany before returning to Maumee. He was the longest continuously serving Soldier of the 983rd Engineer Battalion of the US Army Reserve on Garden Road in Monclova, Ohio having spent almost 30 years with the unit. During this time he served as an engineer squad leader, platoon sergeant, and acting 1st sergeant of Charlie Company and most recently as the battalion safety officer. He was also employed as a US Army civilian employee for the battalion rising to the position of Human Resource Specialist for 900 assigned Soldiers.
He cared deeply for other Soldiers and routinely went to great lengths to help them solve problems. He was relentless in finding ways to make being a Soldier a positive experience. He was fully focused on serving those who serve.
In recent years he became a fitness fanatic, this year logging over 1500 miles foot marching with full pack through local Metroparks. He completed the Toledo Marathon in 2012. Limited to walking instead of running due to an injury, he served as an inspiration to others that physical fitness remained important to the life of a Soldier, regardless of the obstacles.
He received awards this past summer for outstanding work as the Safety Officer for a camp of over 1100 Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen at Fort Hunter Ligget, California during a training exercise. He was able to leverage his decades long experience to anticipate problems before they occurred and helped reduce the risks that are always part of training.
Those he served with over the years are posting their memories on the battalion's official Facebook page. Search for "983rd Engineer Battalion (USAR)" to read more.
Leon is survived by his mother, Eva M. Smith; brothers, Ed (Sarah) and Tom Smith; nieces, Lauren, Anna and Marissa, and nephew, Jake; longtime girlfriend, Salina Badyna; aunt, Annabelle Long, and great-aunt, Ruth Grossheim. He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph; grandparents, Leon and Helen Swartz; aunt, Delores Swartz and uncles, Dale Swartz and Chuck "Shorty" Long.
Friends and family may visit at the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home 501 Conant St., Maumee on Thursday, December 13, 2012, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. and Friday from 3:00-8:00 p.m. with a scripture service at 7:00 p.m. Services will begin in the funeral home on Saturday, December 15, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. followed by the Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Maumee. Interment will follow at St. Joseph's Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the
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Published in Toledo Blade from Dec. 11 to Dec. 12, 2012