Frank Leon White, 86, passed away on March 17, 2017
Frank Leon White, 86, died Friday, March 17, 2017, at a nursing facility in Harrisonville, Mo., following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, at Kirby-Morris Funeral Home. Graveside services with military honors will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 24, 2017, at Sunset Lawns Cemetery.
Leon was born Feb. 15, 1931, to Della B. (Bell) and Robert A. White in Muskogee, Okla. His mother moved to Ontario, Calif., after his eighth grade year and he finished high school in nearby Redlands in 1949. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1953, Leon earned his “Navy wings” as a carrier-qualified jet fighter pilot in Squadron VF-171. Although he was never deployed in combat, he survived two aircraft mishaps, including ejection from his fighter jet after its engine failed over waters near Cuba at night. He swam ashore after his leaky life raft failed and the Cuban Navy flew him back to Key West Naval Air Station.
After leaving the Navy in 1958 to join his father-in-law, Ernest F. Reed, in the automobile business, Leon served as sales manager for Reed Chevrolet in El Dorado and Dick Hatfield Chevrolet in Augusta. He also served as Butler County Commissioner from 1993 to 1997.
Leon married Ocella Joan (Reed) White on Nov. 15, 1955, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Muskogee, Okla. They were married for more than 65 years until Ocella’s death on June 5, 2016.
He is survived by his son, Lee White, and wife, Sherri, of Harrisonville, Mo.
Memorial contributions in his name may be directed to the Butler County Rescue Squad,701 N. Haverhill Road, El Dorado, Kansas 67042. Please sign his online guestbook and leave a memory of Leon at www.carlsonkirbymorris.com