He lived most of his life in Paige and Houston until he and Louise retired to Burnet in 1982.
Leon proudly served his country as an Army field artillery Ssergeant with the 755th Field Artillery Battalion during World War II. He was drafted right before he graduated high school; three days after graduation, he was shipped out. Leon was only 18 years old. Even if he hadn’t been drafted, he always said he would have joined anyway — it was his duty.
The biggest battle he fought in was the Battle of the Bulge (Dec. 16, 1944-Jan. 25, 1945) while attached to the 101st Airborne Division. A bridge was blown up, cutting Leon and the troops off from their supplies and leaving them with little to eat. They were encircled by the Germans for 10 days. The 3rd Army and Gen. George Patton came up from the southeast and saved them from being killed or imprisoned.
After Leon got out of the Army, he came back to Houston, where he met Mary Louise Wideman, the love of his life. They married on June 6, 1947, and spent 67 years together. Their devotion to each other is truly a love story. As Leon lay in the hospital, unresponsive, the week of his death, she sang love songs to him. He heard every word.
Leon worked hard during his lifetime, first as a mechanic and then as a property manager and real estate broker. When he came to Burnet, he worked for his son’s painting company in Austin. There was nothing he couldn’t do.
Leon’s biggest accomplishment was his family. He was a rich man when it came to family and the love they all had for him. He epitomized head of the family, and everyone went to him with everything for his advice. There aren’t many men left in the world who put their family first, no matter what. Leon always did. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be missed beyond words.
Leon was preceded in death by his parents, five sisters and one brother.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Mary Louise; son, Russell and wife Doris of Burnet; daughters, Tina Chambers and husband Ryan of Burnet and Belinda Carson of Houston; six grandchildren, Robin Carson of Louisiana, Jessica Haley of Marble Falls, Royce Graeter and fiancee Missy of Kingsland, Sandy Kinsey and husband Bryan of Burnet, Chance Chambers of Burnet and Caleb Chambers of Burnet; eight great-grandchildren, Shay Graeter of Burnet, Raul Castillo of Houston, Brittany Mitchell of Houston, Collin Graeter of Burnet, Cole Kinsey of Burnet, Carley Kinsey of Burnet, Elli and Adison Alexander of Marble Falls; one great-great grandson, Aymn Elliott of Burnet; and two brothers Lee Roy Graeter of Nederland and Harold Graeter of Tennessee.
A funeral service was Aug. 3 at Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home, 306 Texas 29 East in Burnet, (512) 756-2222. Pallbearers were Royce Graeter, Bryan Kinsey, Ryan Chambers, Collin Graeter, Cole Kinsey, Raul Castillo, Chance Chambers and Caleb Chambers.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.
Condolences may be offered at www.clementswilcoxburnet.com.