After several months of declining health, Leon Sidney Gage passed away peacefully on the morning of 12/25/18. His first wife Beverly and granddaughter Barbara preceded him in death. His second wife Barbara; brother Harold and sister Shirley survive him; as well as daughters Denise, Catherine, and Diana; sons David and Paul: grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and great-grandchildren and step great grandchildren.
Leon was born at home to Claude and Winifred Gage in Sharon Township, Washtenaw County, Michigan on 11/22/1933. His grade school years were spent in a one-room school where one of his duties as a student included carrying in wood and tending the fire. He attended Manchester High School where he participated in band and basketball. He took dance lessons that worked in his favor when he met his first wife, Beverly at a family wedding. They married just out of high school on 2/9/1952. Children came quickly, 3 within the first 6 years. Leon soon realized that his machine shop salary would not be enough, so he started college at Wayne State University, while still continuing to work. Beverly worked as well, so there were times when Leon also cared for the children. His children remember him reading wonderful stories at naptime. Leon graduated from Wayne State University on 8/19/1961 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society. He accepted a job with Western Electric that resulted in a move to Ohio. He and Beverly drove around the outlying Columbus area looking for a town to call home. When they drove into Granville, Beverly said, “This is it.” They packed up their things and moved their “tribe” to the wonderful, small Ohio town that would be “home” for the remainder of their lives.
Leon was a doer. He always had a project going. He especially loved figuring out fixes to seemingly impossible problems. Where there’s a will there’s a way. He would get it done.
Family and community were central to Leon's life. Family vacations involved lots of camping and road trips. He led the way in many active activities: hiking, water skiing, canoeing, bicycling, ice-skating, snow skiing, tobogganing… The family joined St. Luke’s Episcopal church. Leon sang in the choir with a daughter. He served as churchwarden at one time. When his son was old enough for boy scouts, he became a Boy Scout leader. When a daughter went down the road and found a horse that she could ride, he took her to a 4-H show. After she won some ribbons, he and Beverly decided perhaps they should buy some land and build a barn. Along came 2 more siblings who also took up riding. Leon served as a 4-H advisor and also as a Pony Club advisor. He used his woodworking skills to construct tack trunks for his children and eventually his grandchildren. He helped build jumps for cross-country courses. He attended all his children’s sports events and recitals, as well as some of his grandchildren’s events.
Throughout Leon’s life he developed strong neighborhood and community friendships. For years, he and 3 other men carpooled to Western Electric (later became Lucent). He and Beverly belonged to bridge groups and dancing groups. They kept up family ties with parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren with lots of visiting trips and vacations. They developed strong ties with their neighbors. Leon taught bridge and helped install a floor at the Granville Senior Center. He volunteered to help people with their taxes during tax season. He helped out at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church passing the offering plate during services and doing building repairs. As his children moved away, Leon did more woodworking. Members of the community would ask, “Hey, could you make me a (shelf, table, bookcase, stand…), and he would, usually for just the cost of materials. He joined a group of men who made toys for children at Christmas time. He began to realize that perhaps he should mill his own wood to save some money at the lumberyard. Eventually townspeople would call up and say, “I have an (ash, cherry, walnut, Osage orange) tree that needs to come down. Would you want the wood?” Leon and his son-in-law would come to remove the tree and would create more beautiful boards for wood projects. During family get-togethers, the grandchildren expressed desires to make cribbage boards, bowls, etc. They would head to Leon’s wood shop and over the course of a weekend make wood projects that were to become sacred memories of the man that was their mentor.
Leon’s wife Beverly passed away on 8/5/2017 after a yearlong battle with cancer. Leon was very caring and supportive during her illness. When she was gone Leon felt lost; he had been married 65 years. His daughter encouraged him to look for another dance partner. It was not long before he met up with Barbara Kocik, an old bridge friend who had lost her husband 3 years prior. They played some bridge. Then Leon drafted her to try the dance class and they began to date. Within a few months his children received an email. Leon decided to marry again. He said, “At 84, I don’t have any time to waste.” He and Barbara married January 13, 2018. They enjoyed some good times visiting family out west and going on a cruise with family to Panama. Unfortunately, Leon developed health problems in April that would not seem to leave him. He continued to teach bridge at the community center and work on wood projects well into the fall months. During his last days in the hospital, he was still coaching nursing students on how to bid their hands during card games played with family members at the hospital.
Family members and friends benefitted from Leon’s caring and kind ways. Many will sorely miss him. The speed of his passing was unexpected but amazingly peaceful. The family knows that if there is any project that needs to be done in heaven, that Leon will be there with a plan.
Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at McPeek-Hoekstra Funeral Home, 133 S. Prospect St., Granville, Ohio 43023 on 2/8/2019. Funeral service will be at 1:00 pm on 2/9/2019 at Water’s Edge Assembly of God, 2249 Cherry Valley Rd. SE, Newark Ohio 43055. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Granville Senior Center, P.O. Box 257, Granville, Ohio 43023; Water’s Edge Assembly of God (address above); or St. Luke’s Episcopal, P.O. Box 82, Granville, Ohio 43023.
To send flowers to Leon's family, please visit our floral store.
Granville Senior Center
P.O. Box 257, Granville OH 43023
St. Luke's Church
P.O. Box 82, Granville OH 43023
Water's Edge Assembly of God
2249 Cherry Valley Rd. S.E., Newark OH 43055