Herbert N. Leavitt
December 28, 1919 – January 6, 2019
Herbert (“Herb”) Nelson Leavitt
Herbert N. Leavitt passed away on January 6, 2019, just a week after his 99th birthday and is fondly remembered by relatives, friends, and even recent acquaintances. Herb was born December 28, 1919, in Camden, New Jersey. The family moved to the Chicago area a short time later, where Herb attended Emerson Grammar School in Berwyn and Morton East High School for 8 weeks. He completed his secondary education at Parker High School in Chicago, where despite a severe bout of pneumonia that sidelined him for 8 weeks his freshman year, Herb was amazingly successful and served as class president his senior year. This success is even more remarkable because Herb lost his parents very early and lived in several foster homes during these school years, variously working at a bowling alley, grocery store, and delivering newspapers.
He subsequently joined the U.S. Navy Air Corps in October 1940, where he became an officer and a pilot during WWII. He trained at Naval Air Station Glenview, IL, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, TX, and Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL. He was eventually stationed at Naval Air Station New York (Floyd Bennett Field), the Naval Air Warfare Center (Trenton, NJ), and Naval Air Station Honolulu (at Keehi Lagoon, HI). Over the war years he variously piloted the North American Aviation T-6 Texan, Grumman TBF Avenger, Grumman F4F Wildcat, and Grumman F6F Hellcat, the latter being his favorite.
After the War, Herb returned to Chicago and completed a 2-year Associate of Arts degree from the College of the University of Chicago in 1946. He attended College of Advanced Traffic and attained certification in "Transportation and Traffic Management" (1947) and in "Interstate Commerce Law" (1953). He met his future wife, Elaine, when he rented a room in the unit above Elaine’s home in Chicago. They married in 1947, moved to Rockford, IL, for a few years and then returned to Chicago. Eventually, they moved to Hazel Crest, IL, in 1955, and subsequently to happy retirement in Schererville, IN, in 1984.
Herb worked for several motor-freight companies over the years, including Pacific Inter-Mountain Express (PIE), Suburban, Roadway, and Dohrn (his favorite). Outside of work over those years, he was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church, became a member and then school board president of Hazel Crest School District 152½, and coached his son’s baseball team. Over the years, Herb and Elaine took many vacation trips before and after retirement to resorts in Door Co., WI, Saugatuk, MI, Lake of the Ozarks, MO, and to visit family in southern Arizona.
Herb was preceded in death by his beautiful bride, Elaine, in 2012, with whom he is now reunited. Herb is survived by sons Steven (Irina) and Jeffrey (Karen), six grandchildren (Nathaniel, Erin, Gus, Josh, Ricky, and Erik), and nine great-grandchildren. His sons are supremely appreciative of their Father’s selfless efforts in ensuring they had a wonderful childhood and for his strong advocacy of education as a key to future success and his support in attending college.
Herb and Elaine are interred in the Chapel at Chapel Hill Gardens West Cemetery (17w201 Roosevelt Rd, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Herb may be made to his favorite charity, Children’s Home & Aid of Illinois (125 South Wacker Drive, 14th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606; https://www.childrenshomeandaid.org/). In his early years, Herb was the grateful beneficiary of this organization’s renowned efforts in Foster Care services.
- Children's Home & Aid of Illinois
Herbert N. Leavitt
January 8, 2019
Mr. Leavitt, my best friend's father, was one of the most trustworthy and dignified individuals I have known. He took us to numerous band events in grade and high school, and honored Steve and myself on Dad's day at the University of Illinois.
I remember him portraying a football coach in a skit at our Grade School. And he served us well on the School Board.
I hope to see him once again one day in Heaven.
Keep 'em flyin, Herb !!