LeRoy Joseph Schwartz, 85, of Belle Plaine passed away peacefully March 7, 2019 in Yuma, Arizona.
Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, May 25, at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic Church in Belle Plaine. A two-hour visitation will be held from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the OLP gathering space. Lunch and a life celebration will follow in the church hall. Family burial later in St. Anne’s Calvary Cemetery in Le Sueur.
LeRoy was born October 20, 1933, in St. Paul to Mahlon and Edna (Turnquist) Schwartz of Ottowa and later the family moved to a farm in Blakeley Twp. where he grew up. He graduated from Le Sueur High School and the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
He then joined the United States Air Force and trained to be a fighter pilot, subsequently earning several awards for marksmanship and flying skills. LeRoy’s first permanent assignment was to Etain AB in France for two years and then to Spangdahlem AB in Germany for one year.
While in Germany, he met and married his wife, Pat, who he was married to for 58+ years. LeRoy was transferred to Nellis AFB, Nevada, in 1960 as a bombing instructor and then resigned his commission in 1962 and returned to Blakeley Twp. to begin his life-long farming career.
His farming endeavors covered a broad spectrum of agricultural activities including feed grain crops, factory (canning) crops for Green Giant, cultured sod, putting together components for a six-row sweet corn picker which was later adopted by Green Giant, an early cooperator working closely with chemical and seed companies providing seed plots and assisting with research, etc.
LeRoy also found time for family trips which they all enjoyed. Later in life, he and Pat had opportunities for some more extensive traveling.
LeRoy loved family and was like a magnet to children. He had a way of winking with a twinkle in his eye that could melt your heart. To know LeRoy was to have a friend.
LeRoy and Pat raised six children and one foster son. He is survived by his wife, Pat; sons, Mike (Carolyn), Dave (Cindy), Terry (Melissa), Kevin; and daughters, Cathy (Tim) Elness and Julie (Dale) Tesch; 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; sisters, Ann Louise Distel and Corinne Good; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Janet Laughlin; and foster son, Steve (Jayne) Dumas.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to donor’s choice.