VILLA GROVE – Dr. John A. Leon, optometrist, passed away at 7:10 p.m. on May 1, 2012, at Meadowbrook Renewal Center, Urbana.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 7, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Villa Grove. Father Paul Skelton will officiate. The visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the church. Burial will be held in the Villa Grove Cemetery.
Dr. Leon was born Jan. 29, 1922, in Fort Wayne, Ind., a son of Vitantonio and Caroline Merola Leone. He married Helen M. Lovell on Feb. 15, 1947, in Chicago. She preceded him in death on Aug. 4, 1995.
Survivors include his children, Michael (Brenda) Leon of Villa Grove, Dr. Steve (Pam) Leon of Philo, Carol (Jerry) Cohen of Savoy and Tim (Lita) Leon of Villa Grove; 14 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Larry Leon of Auburn, Ind.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; a daughter, Cindy Leon Randall; three brothers, Joe, Pat and Tony; two sisters, Doris and Mary Ellen; and three infant siblings who passed away at birth.
Dr. Leon was a veteran of World War II, where he was a machinist-1st Mate in the Seabees.
He was very active in the Villa Grove community. Dr. Leon was instrumental in forming Little League teams and Cub Scouts of Villa Grove. He played fast-pitch softball, was a golden gloves boxer, and a semi-pro football player. He served on the Villa Grove City Council for eight years and was the Villa Grove mayor for 28 years.
In 1949 he started Leon Optometric Clinic in Villa Grove, retiring in 2002. Dr. Leon was also a former Rotarian and a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where he sang in the choir. His hobbies included fishing, golfing, gardening, watching sports, reading and attending his grandchildren's musical and sporting events.
Dr. Leon had a tremendous love for his family, grandchildren and the community in which he served.
The family of Dr. John Leon would like to give special thanks to Andrea Bratten for her wonderful care during these last three years.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, donations may be made to the Dr. John A. Leon scholarship fund. Donations may be made during the visitation/funeral or at the Villa Grove State Bank.
Joines Funeral Home of Villa Grove is in charge of arrangements.