ANNA - Leon Merle O'Daniel, 76, died at 6:30 a.m. Monday, March 25, 2013, in the St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. He was born Jan. 13, 1937 in Anna, the son of Merle Keith and Esther V. Kupfer O'Daniel.
Leon is survived by his loving wife, Nancy J. O'Daniel of Anna; one son, Leon M. (Gina) O'Daniel Jr. of Renton, Wash.; one daughter, Melissa O'Daniel and fiancé, David L. Franklin II of Anna; five grandchildren, Meghan N. O'Daniel, Kaitlyn B. O'Daniel, Justin J. O'Daniel, Brandon M. O'Daniel and David Lee Franklin III; cousins, Janet L. (Kupfer) James, Esther M. (Kupfer) Penrod, Valda F. (Kupfer) Hart, Anna J. (Kupfer) Swan, and Earlene C. (Kupfer) Salander; other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and one son, Sean M. O'Daniel.
Leon graduated Anna-Jonesboro Community High School in 1955, and promptly left to serve his country in the United States Navy. Leon met the love of his life, Nancy Jeanne Campbell O'Daniel at General Electric in Syracuse, N.Y., while on a training assignment, and were married shortly thereafter on Nov. 2, 1962. Leon led a long and distinguished 20 year career, serving on the USS Brooke during the Vietnam War, and receiving numerous awards and medals, including the Navy Commendation Medal.
In 1976, Leon began his career in real estate, starting as a real estate agent for Cherry Hill Realty, and shortly thereafter opening his own real estate company, Leon O'Daniel Realtors. In the 1980s, Leon's company grew and became Century 21 Leon O'Daniel Realtors. Leon was very active in many community organizations during this time and regularly called Bingo or was at the barbeque for Knights of Columbus fundraisers. In 1998, Leon started a new chapter in his life, opening the O'Daniel Appraisal Company with his wife Nancy.
Leon loved his family, playing with his grandkids, and rooting for his favorite sports teams. It was a rare occasion when one wouldn't find Leon in front of the TV cheering on the Boston Celtics or the San Diego Chargers.
Funeral Mass will be at 1 p.m. Monday, April 1, at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cobden, with Father Uriel Salamanca officiating. Interment will be in the Anna Cemetery with graveside military honors conducted by the Carroll P. Foster Post 3455 of the VFW in Anna and the Illinois National Guard Funeral Honors Team of Marion.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. Monday at Rendleman and Hileman Funeral Home in Anna.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Bethany Village Pantry. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
To view this obituary or leave an online condolence for the family visit www.rendlemanhilemanfh.com
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Published by The Southern Illinoisan from Mar. 26 to Mar. 31, 2013.