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Crouse-Kauber-Fraley Funeral Home

225 North Main Street, Johnstown, OH

OBITUARY

Steven LeClair

October 31, 1948February 9, 2020

Steven Ray LeClair of Johnstown, 71, passed away on February 9, 2020 at The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, where he had been treated for a swift, but hard-fought battle with cardiac amyloidosis. Family will be accepting visitors on Sunday, February 16, from 2-4pm at the Johnstown Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, Ohio. A celebration of life service will be held immediately following at 4pm. Care will be provided by Crouse-Kauber-Fraley Funeral Home in Johnstown. Pastor Kevin Heckathorn officiating. Steven was born October 31, 1948 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin to Winifred LeClair and the late Bernard LeClair. He was a graduate of Two Rivers High School. Steven enlisted into the USAF and became a Major in the Air Force during the course of his career as a serviceman. He received a PhD in Industrial/ Electrical Engineering and Manufacturing from The Arizona State University. Steven worked at WPAFB as Chief Scientist at Materials Directorate. He then worked for The Missile Defense Agency in Washington, DC, and retired from the Navy Research Lab. He was a fellow of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, holds a number of patents, and published many papers in professional journals. After retirement he loved traveling with his wife, Marilyn, around various parts of the country, especially the national parks. He also enjoyed spending time at his second home in Cleveland, TN. He developed a love for woodworking and construction. He enjoyed quiet time on his pontoon boat in Tennessee, but also the louder times driving the grandchildren around the lake to swim, ski, and explore. He is survived by his loving wife, Marilyn (Slagenweit) LeClair of Johnstown, Ohio; His mother Winifred LeClair of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. His sisters Pam Garzone, Gail Burton, Laura LeClair, Faye French, and brothers Stan LeClair and Kevin LeClair. He is also survived by his daughter, Jennifer (Felix) LeClair Apfaltrer of New York, stepchildren Melinda (Andrew) Hockaday of Laguna Beach, CA, Dr. Eston (Mindy) Wenger of Cleveland, TN, and Katrina (Trevor) Dyce of Hebron, OH; His pride and joy were his 11 grandchildren: Ella, Felix, and Aurelia Apfaltrer, Bridget, Claire, and Olivia Hockaday, Paige, Andrew, and Ava Wenger, and Chloe and Aidan Dyce. He was preceded in death by his father, Bernard “Ben” LeClair, and his brother-in-law Earl Hendershot. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Journey Into Hope, c/o Richard Taylor, New Life Christian Church; P.O. Box 89, Linden, TN 37096. (Dominican Mission Fund). journeyintohope.org Amyloidosis Foundation at amyloidosis.org

Services

  • Visitation Sunday, February 16, 2020
  • Funeral Service Sunday, February 16, 2020

Memories

Steven LeClair

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Alok Mathur

February 16, 2020

Dr. LeClair had an outsized impact on me and many other people I know. His passion for science & research, and his drive for excellence was daunting and inspiring for me as a new graduate student from India in 1991. His drive and research initiatives at the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency supported (funded) several teams of graduate students, researchers, and kick-started at least two companies. I am one of the people funded, challenged, and encouraged by him and his work over many years.

He was a very kind and warm person. I would meet him only every couple of years but he was always a pleasure to talk to.

When I met him recently after 10 years, I learnt that, after retirement Steve had been traveling to Latin America to provide medical services directly to communities in the past few years volunteering his time and providing financial support.

It was an honor and a pleasure to have known Dr. Steve LeClair.

Alok Mathur.

Helen Park

February 16, 2020

It has been so long ago that I can barely remember when my husband and I first met Steve. It was a funny kind of first meeting - my husband had been corresponding with him, and invited him to come. We were both a bit surprised when he did!

At that time we lived in a very rural area of the California Sierra foothills - beautiful, but remote. The main mode of transportation that we had at that time was a 20-year-old rattletrap Datsun pickup (the name is now Nissan) held together with chewing gum and baling wire.

I could see he was very surprised - shocked, even (although trying hard to hide it) by this wild woman (neither my husband nor myself had ever previously met him - my husband had stayed behind to try to make some order out of the shambles in which we lived) rolling up to the curb in a vehicle that seemed on the verge of falling apart - and our home was 80 miles from the airport.

Frankly, I was impressed by his courage - as he blithely threw his bags in the back of a total stranger's truck, opened the door - which gave a mighty squeak - and bravely climbed in.

This led to a friendship that lasted for decades. Marriages fail, and life moves on - I lost track of Steve over time, but my (now ex) husband remained in contact.

I was very much saddened to hear of his passing. Although I had always hoped to see him again one day, maybe just have a coffee somewhere, talk over old times - it was not to be.

I will always remember his kind smile, the tone of his voice, his cheerfulness, his sense of adventure (on one of his visits he wanted to go horseback riding!).

His love of cheesecake. His bright and burning intelligence, his unmatched compassion, his sense of wonder.

But, perhaps most of all, his innate and enduring kindness, and his generosity.

Steve was one of the good ones. God doesn't make too many of these, because He wants to give the rest of us something to strive for.

Goodbye, Steve. Thanks for the memories.

Helen Park
Yuba City, Ca



Jack Park

February 15, 2020

I cannot attend the service, but I'll say this: Steve was driven to excel; I recall walking for miles around Anaheim with him talking him through his concern that he was not going to succeed writing his PhD. He succeeded. I worked with him at WPAFB on a project which got a patent and awards for saving money and resulting in the ability to return A-10 Warthogs to service.

Steve was very important to me and my family. He will be deeply missed.

Michaela Wingerd

February 15, 2020

One of my favorite memories of Uncle Steven is he always cared about the stories I was writing. Even when I was little, he would ask about them. It was obvious that he took them seriously, and that care—knowing HE would read them—made me want to create something really excellent. He was an exceptional man, and it’s wonderful to see more glimpses of that truth through the memories that others have shared. I will miss him, and look forward to seeing him again in glory.

David Smith

February 14, 2020

I knew Steve as Dr. LeClair. From my perspective as an engineer, he was a role model of what I aspire to be: consummately professionalism, visionary, objective, and persistent in the pursuit of what he believed to be possible. Steve was a driving force in advancing several innovations in the aerospace and defense sector. It was a privilege to work in his sphere of influence, and to be edified by his vision for better engineering methods. I am saddened by the news of his passing, and wish peace and comfort to his beloved family.

John Maguire

February 14, 2020

Dear Marilyn,
Maureen and I were so shocked and saddened to learn of Steve’s sudden illness and untimely death.
Steve asked me to take a one-year sabbatical leave with his group at Wright Patterson in 1989 and I ended up staying 12 years. We spent a number of very happy years exploring the application of artificial intelligence and sensor technology to materials and processing; little did we expect (well maybe Steve did) that those initial projects would expand into collaboration with scientists throughout the world. It was not all hard work, good times and many fine stories could be told!
We had hoped to get together in Big Bend after my move back to Texas but, alas, that is not to be; until we meet again, Rest in Peace, Steve.
With our deepest condolences,
John and Maureen Maguire

Lisa Wingerd

February 13, 2020

This photo is of Uncle Steven and Zachary Wingerd (age 7) when Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Steven were visiting us in California. He always spent time talking and listening to our children and on this trip I think playing baseball with our boys. We will miss him. Look forward to seeing him again someday!

Dennis Vavrunek

February 13, 2020

Steve, Stan and I built a dugout fort between his home and the neighbor’s, back in grade school. He designed it!

Katrina Dyce

February 13, 2020

Courtesy of Jen LeClair

Katrina Dyce

February 13, 2020

Courtesy of Jen LeClair
Enjoy some photos from his younger years ❤️

FROM THE FAMILY