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DAN LERAY LEADLAY

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LEADLAY, DAN LERAY Dan LeRay Leadlay, 82, passed away peacefully, Wednesday, November 7, 2012, following a brief illness. Dan was born July 15, 1930, in Los Angeles, California, the only child of the late Ernest and Muriel Alwilda Leadlay. His parents emigrated from France to Canada before settling in Hollywood. His father became a chauffeur for Hollywood producers who later taught him how to edit film, and he is credited for work on Gone with the Wind. Dan was a lifelong California resident and would ultimately settle in San Diego. He was preceded in death by his only son, Kirk A. Leadlay in 1996. Dan attended Harvard School, a military boarding school in Los Angeles between 1936-1948. He earned his civil engineering degree from UCLA and San Diego State. He entered the Air Force in 1952 and served as a B-29 "Flying Fortress" pilot during the Korean Conflict. While in the Air Force he was attached to a Strategic Air Command control group, the 11th Bombardment Wing, flying fighter jets; he returned stateside and after 3 years of active duty served in the California Air National Guard until retirement. In the course of his military career he accumulated 2753 hours in flight, including 108 combat mission hours. Dan would retire from the military in 1971 after 20 years of creditable service as a Lieutenant Colonel and as Flight Commander of the 196th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the California Air National Guard. He was awarded the Air Medal for his Air Force combat missions and would go on to receive the Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation, The Combat Readiness Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Korean Service Medal, The Air Force Reserve Service Medal, United Nations Korean Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon, and California Service Medal. The discipline and patriotism he learned and displayed in the service never left him as his friends and acquaintances will attest. After the military Dan maintained simultaneous civilian careers as a commercial airline pilot and civil engineer. He flew for California's PSA, Pacific Southwest Airlines for approximately 25 years and later retired as a Captain after 5 years with USAir. He was an active member of the San Diego Yacht Club and a lifelong sailing enthusiast. Although he would own several vessels he spent many of the last years of his life maintaining and sailing Elegance, a 44-foot Peterson. He enjoyed many trips along the Southern California coast and Catalina was a favorite destination. Referring to himself as "Dirty Dan the Mission Beach Man", Dan's lifestyle reflected his love for the ocean, beach activities and his home. He personalized his Mission Bay residence into a Spanish-style villa where he shared many wonderful moments with loved ones and friends. Dan will be remembered by those who knew him as a true and honorable gentleman with a kind heart, a wonderful smile and deep passion for animals - indeed for any creature or human who needed help or support. His friends will remember the quiet nurturing he gave his beloved cats, saving many from animal shelters and neighborhood abandonment. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made on his name to the San Diego Humane Society and Helen Woodward Center. A brief memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. at Featheringill Mortuary, 6322 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego 92115, 619-583-9511. Following the service, friends and family are invited to celebrate Dan's life at an off-site location for a light lunch.

Published in U-T San Diego on Nov. 15, 2012
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