Albert J. Leo
September 29, 1925 – March 8, 2021
Al was born in Winfield, IL on September 29, 1925 to Albert Sophus Leo and Mary Beck. Al was the youngest of four children, all of whom preceded him in death. He served in the Army during WWII, where he was injured during battle in France, receiving a Purple Heart.
Al met the love of his life, Georganna, at an American Legion dance at the end of WWII in Ontario, CA. Georganna was double dating with her best friend, Dotty, but, as they were leaving, Al heard her ask her date, "Why don't we ask that soldier to come with us for a coke?" Even as a 'fifth wheel', Al was deeply moved at this 15 year old girl's genuine concern for another’s happiness. This led to a two year courtship followed by almost 70 years of a blissful marriage which produced three children, Kathleen, David, and Margaret, each of whom subsequently had three children. At the time of his passing, Al had 41 progeny. Georganna preceded Al in death in 2017.
After earning his B.S. in chemistry at Pomona College, as a young married veteran of WWII on the G.I. Bill, Al moved on to the University of Chicago for his Ph.D. Returning to Pomona in 1968, he founded the Medicinal Chemistry Project with his former mentor, Prof. Corwin Hansch. They then founded a corporation, BioByte, specializing in programs and databases for computer-aided drug design. Al authored several books and many papers for scientific journals, in addition to a historical novel, “Too-nu-yah: The Enchanted Valley of Yosemite.” More information about his novel can be found at www.albertleo.com
Friday, May 7, 2021
Albert J. Leo
May 8, 2021
Albert Leo was an extraordinary man who led an amazing life. He was a successful businessman, a decorated war hero and a noble humanitarian, but most of all he met the love of his life and they enjoyed a wonderful marriage that lasted almost 70 years.
As a young man I was mesmerized by Al's numerous stories of travel and adventure. One story in particular, stood out and had a profound affect on my life.
He described his incredible 14 mile, nearly 5,000 foot climb to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite, which included a steep almost 1,000 ft ascent up a treacherous cable.
After accomplishing this amazing feat, he encountered a gentleman who wanted to take a picture looking over the edge of Half Dome, but was too scared to do it by himself. He wanted Al to hold on to his feet as he sheepishly crawled out to look straight down the almost 5,000 foot cliff. Al agreed, but when the gentleman actually looked over the edge, he became so terrified that he shook too much to take the picture.
After he calmed down, he told Al that he used to be a fighter pilot in World War II. He described how he was once hit by enemy fire and had to eject from his plane. He said that looking over the edge of Half Dome was more terrifying than that.
I was blown away and became obsessed with the desire to hike to the top of Half Dome. I eventually did and it was a truly amazing adventure. Halfway up the cables I encountered a woman who was curled up in the fetal position. She was so paralyzed with fear that she was too scared to go forward or back down.
When I did reach the top and look over the edge, it was the thrill of a lifetime, although I did get a serious case of vertigo that made me dizzy and disoriented. Fortunately, I was able to maintain my balance, because I didn't have anyone holding on to my feet.
It was an incredible experience and I owe it all to Al.
April 8, 2021
I have so many great memories of Grandma and Grandpa and our time spent at 311. The love they shared for their family and each other has always inspired me to try to follow in their footsteps and show love and compassion to everyone.
April 1, 2021
I wasnt able to share a lot of memories with my Great Grandpa Leo but there is one memory in particular that i think i will always remember. I was going on my first trip to disney and i was around 3 and we stayed with Leo. When we got to the house i walked in and i said right away “How about a hug”. Later that afternoon i fell asleep in his chair with him.
Leo has always inspired me to do my best and chase my dreams, He lived a happy life and met the love of his life. I wanna be like him someday. I will always hold the memories him and I did share close to my heart.
March 31, 2021
There are just a whole lifetime of memories but one of the main things my dad taught me is to take time and see the beauty surrounding us. With all our travels we saw a lot of majestic mountains, canyons , forest etc but what he also taught us to see the little things. I remember going on hikes with his little eye piece so we could look at the intricate beauty of wildflowers, bugs rocks and so much more. To this day I take time to “ smell the roses” and when I do, I think of him.