George Edwin Leonard, 81, of Brookings, died Sept. 19, 2002, at a local care facility of natural causes.

He was born Oct. 29, 1920, in Worchester, Mass., to George E. and Doris (Masters) Leonard.

He was raised and educated in New York. After high school, he attended a vocational school to learn the machinist trade.

Mr. Leonard entered the United States Army Air Corp on June 17, 1942. He rose to rank of staff sergeant and was a bombsight mechanic. He served in Naples, Italy, at the Foggie Air Base. While there Mount Vesuvius erupted and destroyed some 20 bombers.

He was wounded in action at the Isle of Corscia on May 13, 1944, by a German fighter plane strafing their facility.

Mr. Leonard received the following citations and decorations: The distinguishing unit badge with oak left cluster, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Purple Heart.

His foreign service time amounted to two years, five months and 15 days. He was discharged Sept. 30, 1945.

After returning to the states, he married his longtime sweetheart Christine Baker at Rock Stream, N.Y. on Dec. 1, 1945. They made their home in New York and raised one son, Thomas.

His work career was three years at the Ritter Dental Co. From there they went to the West Coast and he worked for Hughes Aircraft Co., as a precision machinist until his retirement after 29 years.

The Leonards then moved to Brookings to live and attended Grace Bible Church.

His greatest enjoyment out of life was learning the Bible and living God's word. He also enjoyed his many friends, singing at Grace Bible Church and playing ping pong and billiards.

Survivors are his wife of 57 years, Christine, and son, Thomas G. Leonard of Garden Grove, Calif.

A memorial service will be Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. at Grace Bible Church with Pastor Wil Winter officiating. Inurnment will be at Eagle Point National Cemetery.

Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Redwood Memorial Chapel.