Leo Louis Lange
LEO LOUIS LANGE, Chief Master Sergeant (Retired), USAF
June 18, 1925 (Saginaw, Michigan) – July 9, 2019 (Arvada, Colorado)
LEO LOUIS (LEWIS) LANGE was the third of five children born (on June 18, 1925) to Carl W. M. Lange and Vera Krebs of Saginaw (later of Grand Rapids), Michigan. Leo grew up and attended school in the Saginaw and Grand Rapids areas.
At the age of 17 (November 17,1942), he enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to the Army Air Corps (which became the United States Air Force). He spent much of World War II as a tail gunner on a B-17, flying some 30 missions from his base in Glatton, England over Europe. Leo was part of the 8th Air Force, 1st Division, 457th Bomb Group, 748th Squadron. During one of his missions, Leo was wounded and received the Purple Heart. In addition, he was awarded many other medals and honors and earned countless distinctions. It was in June of this year that Leo described flying over the Normandy Coast on D-Day (June 6, 1944; Mission #21); the ships, he said, were so thick in the Channel that the crew could not see the water! The goal of the mission was to make the beaches safer for the landing of allied troops.
On April 15, 1945, he married Reatha L. Morgan (daughter of Alexander William Morgan & Mary Elizabeth Rich) at Vona, Colorado. They cherished each other through 67 years of marriage. After Reatha died, Leo continued calling her “the girl of my dreams.”
Leo retired from the Air Force in 1968. He was a participant in the October 2017 Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
During their lifetime together, Leo & Reatha became renowned square and round dancers and teachers. They danced, taught, called and cued lots of melodies and even produced a record that is still available, “The Sunbeam 2-Step.” Leo and Reatha lived in many places in the United States and abroad and were great travelers. However, they made Mountain Home, Idaho their headquarters, eventually wintering in Arizona (Apache Junction).
In 2006, Leo and Reatha moved to Lakewood, Colorado where they lived until her death in 2012 and where Leo lived until his passing on July 9, 2019 (following a brief illness).
Leo was predeceased by his spouse Reatha, his parents, and one brother Jack. He is survived by three sisters – Verna Dornbos, Maraline Meyerink [Doug], Madaline Depuit; two sons – Jerald (Cecelia) of Arvada, Colorado and Walter “Wallee” (Nancie) of Hailey, Idaho; 4 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.
Leo was loved by many and will be terribly missed. He had a wicked sense of humor (always active) but was a gentle soul. We all know that Leo and Reatha are dancing together somewhere now; he has no pain and he doesn’t need that pesky wheelchair. Leo/Dad/Grandpa – we salute you.
A joint ceremony for both Reatha and Leo will be held at Mountain Home Cemetery, Mountain Home, Idaho where their ashes will be interred – Monday, 12 August 2019, 10:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in their memory to the charity of your choice.