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Ronald Henley Leuschner

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Ronald Henley Leuschner Obituary
Ronald Henley Leuschner

1930-2014

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, business associate, and longtime resident of Manhattan Beach, Calif., Ron passed away on September 4, 2014.

Ron was born in Philadelphia, Penn., on September 2, 1930, as the only child of Martin and Frances Leuschner. He grew up in Oak Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, where his family moved when he was four. He earned a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and then spent two years in the Army, where he was assigned to do geophysical exploration on the Greenland ice cap.

Ron moved to Southern California in 1955 to start a job with Hughes Aircraft Company while also pursuing a Master's degree in Engineering at USC. He remained in aerospace for the next 34 years. Ron was part of the Hughes team that built Surveyor, the first unmanned spacecraft to land on the moon. Ron met his future wife, Jeanne, in L.A. and they wed on February 20, 1957. They were married for 52 years and had three children: Karen, Kristin, and Kurt. The family lived in Gardena until 1972, when they moved to Manhattan Beach.

During his youth, Ron became interested in what would become a lifelong passion: collecting butterflies and moths. Some 65 years later, Ron had built his collection to 100,000 insect specimens. He discovered several new species of moths, including some named after him (e.g., Euxoa Leuschneri). In recent years, Ron donated most of the collection to the Smithsonian and other institutions.

Ron enjoyed travelling both for fun and collecting. He travelled extensively across North America and Europe, and made trips to such exotic locales as Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Central and South America, including the mysteriously named Rondonia in Brazil.

Ron was always alert for new possibilities- serendipity-and not afraid to try something new. He once remarked of his life: "It couldn't have been better if I had planned it!" He was an active member of many organizations, including St. John Lutheran Church in Gardena, the Lepidopterists' Society, the Lorquin Entomological Society, and the Viking Social Club. Ron enjoyed jazz and rock 'n' roll. He was an avid bridge and card player and jigsaw puzzle and Sudoku solver.

Ron was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Jeanne, in 2009. He is survived by his children, Karen, Kristin, and Kurt (and wife Candice); and his grandchildren Luke, Drake, and Annabelle.

A celebration of Ron's life will take place on Sun. Oct. 5 at 2pm at St. John Lutheran Church, 14517 Crenshaw Blvd., Gardena, Calif. 90249. The service is open to the public. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ron's honor to St. John Lutheran Church (see address above), the Lepidopterists' Society (www.lepsoc.org), or the Friends of the Desert Mountains (P.O. Box 1281, Palm Desert, CA 92261, or www.desertmountains.org). Please sign the guestbook at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Sept. 24, 2014
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