One of America's "Greatest Generation" Heroes, Leo A. LaCasse, 99, United States Air Force, (retired), passed away on Monday, June 22, 2020, at The VA Medical Center, Salem, Va., and joined his beloved wife, Anne Marrie Vallier LaCasse, in Heaven. He was born on July 4, 1920 in Manchester, N.H., where he attended local schools and joined the National Guard in 1935. During World War II, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1943 after graduating from U.S. Army Air Corps Flight School.
He became the pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber, "The Lady Anne," and was assigned to the 8th Air Force in England where he flew 35 missions over German occupied territory. A veteran of 28 years in the United States Air Force, he had assignments in England, Germany, Alaska, Korea, Vietnam, Hawaii, and Thailand.
His military decorations include, the French Legion of Honor (the highest award given by the Republic of France), the Legion of Merit, Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Air Medals, three Purple Heart Medals, the French Air Medal, the Army and Air Force Commendation Medals, two Presidential Unit Citations, Department of Defense Badge, and nine Theater of Operations Medals. He wore the Command Pilot's Wings, the French Pilot's Wings, and flew mostly heavy bombers throughout his military service.
He retired from the Air Force in 1968 and accepted an assignment with the National Security Agency as Deputy Chief of Station in Harrogate, England. He left government service in 1972 and dedicated his life as a sports reporter and photographer in support of charitable organizations for 25 years. He was a member of the American Legion, The Air Force Association, The Purple Heart Association
, the 8th Air Force Fellowship, The Disabled American Veterans Association, The Elks Club, a long-time member and Secretary of the Roanoke Camera Club, a member of the Roanoke Valley Sports Club and a frequent contributor to the Roanoke Sports Journal.
He is survived by his daughter, Nicky Fannin of Roanoke; his son, Thomas LaCasse and wife, Sharon, of Cape Coral, FL; grandson, Luke Fannin and wife, Rebecca, of Falls Church, Va.; granddaughter, Michelle LaCasse of Lakewood, CO; grandson, Christopher LaCasse and wife, Katie of Brighton, CO; great-grandsons, Gavin and Asher LaCasse of Lakewood, CO, and Corbin LaCasse of Brighton, CO; nephew, Dave LaCasse and wife, Pat of Patterson, NY; niece, Susan Hughes and nephew, Richard LaCasse of Springfield, MA.
The family will receive visitors from 6 until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at Oakey's South Chapel on Brambleton Ave., Roanoke. A Memorial Mass will be conducted at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church on Rt. 419, Roanoke. Please arrive early to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions which will require you to wear masks, be checked in and be seated. Seating is limited.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The American Cancer Society
of Roanoke, or to The American Heart Association
Arrangements by Oakey's Funeral Service - South Chapel, Roanoke, Va., (540) 989-3131. Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.oakeys.com