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George B. Leach, an old solider laid to rest. George Barnett Leach, 93, passed away Sunday, March 25, 2018 at Genesis Health Services in Zanesville. He was born the seventh son of a seventh son, on the seventh day of the seventh month in 1924 to Carl Lamar Leach and Clara Pauline (Sullivan) Leach in Wellston, Ohio.
He was one of ten children and along with his parents he was preceded by all. They include Paul Joseph (Lorena), Mary Marjorie (Sheldon) Miller, Charles Arthur “Chappie” (Mary Ann), Betty Jane, Robert Earl, Carl Patrick, James Thomas (Anna Marie), Sally Ann, and Nancy Catherine.
He attended St. Peter and Paul Catholic grade school and Wellston High School, where he was an outstanding football player. He was drafted into the US Army during his senior year in 1943. He was trained as a tank gunner at Ft. Knox, KY. He was shipped to England to join the Normandy invasion, landing on Omaha Beach with the Third Armored, (Spear Head) Division of the First Army. During that division’s advance, he participated in several major campaigns; Northern France 7/25/44 – 9/14/44; Rhineland 9/15/44 – 3/21/45; Ardennes – Alsace (Battle of the Bulge) 12/16/44-1/25/45; and central Europe 3/25/45-5/11/45. After an honorable discharge, he continued to serve in the Army National Guard until 1953. For his service, he was awarded a Bronze star with cluster and “V” device for valor, several sharp shooter medals, the Croix D. Guerre. On November 11, 2013, he was awarded the highest honor of France, the French Legion Medal of Honor for his part in the liberation of France during WWII by the French Consulate.
On January 23, 1946, he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Lucille “Mary Lou” (Brown). They were blessed with three children; Nancy Jane of West Lafayette, with whom he made his home. George Brown (Lynn) of Coshocton, and John Paul. Mary Lou passed away in 1998 and John Paul in 2002. Also surviving are three grandchildren, Douglas B. Leach of Coshocton, Melissa A. (Steve Allen) Corwin of Warsaw, and Eric R. (Suzanne) of Honolulu, Hawaii, USAF; two great grandchildren, Caitlyn Kristine and Andrew Douglas of Warsaw; many nieces and nephews.
For 36 years he was employed by Peabody Coal Company as a prospector. After his retirement in 1985, he became active with the Coshocton County Veterans Service Honor guard and has participated in 1,431 military funerals. For 23 years, as a member of the American Legion Color Guard, he raised the flag at all CHS home football games. He was a 72 year member of the American Legion Post 65 and held life memberships in VFW 1330, Army-Navy Garrison, AMVETS, Loyal Order of Moose, and Coshocton Eagles. In July 2016, he proudly served as Grand Marshall of the West Lafayette Homecoming Festival Parade, honoring the coal miners of Coshocton County.
In 2004, along with seven of his classmates who were drafted into WWII, he received his high school diploma. He was 80 years old. His comment at the time was, “Now I can get a job.”
Friends may call at the Miller Funeral Home, 639 Main Street, Coshocton, Ohio 43812 on Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm with the Coshocton County Veterans Council performing Military honors at 5:00pm.
Friends may also call at McWilliams Funeral Home, 125 E 1st St, Wellston, OH 45692 on Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 11:00am-1:00pm with Father Donald Maroon officiating. Graveside services will immediately follow at Ridgewood Cemetery, Wellston, Ohio.