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Leonard R. Strayhorn

December 26, 1922 ~ August 28, 2018 (age 95)

Leonard R. Strayhorn was born in Hoxie, KS on December 26, 1922 to Frank and Esther Strayhorn and was the oldest of three boys. Because of the severity of the dust storms and the ill effects on his father's health, the doctor ordered the family to move out of the area.  In 1934 they moved to Belle, Missouri where his mother's family resided. The years in Missouri were busy, happy years with plenty of hunting, fishing and trapping. After completing high school in Belle, his family moved to St. Louis. 


During World War II he was inducted into the US Army Aircorp and was sent to Guam to serve with the 20th Air Force as a cryptographer, receiving and sending top secret messages to the Pentagon. His company received a special citation for their around-the-clock work until relief arrived.  


When the war was over he chose to be discharged in California, ultimately being recruited to work for same cafeteria chain he had worked for in St. Louis years earlier. Due to a severe car accident in 1954 he had to make career change and went to work for the State of California. While he started as a clerk/typist he worked hard, furthered his education and pursued advancement opportunities, ultimately ending his 30 career as Deputy Chief Surplus Property Officer in charge of distribution of all state funded food for southern California. During his tenure at the State of California he fell in love with a certain switchboard operator named Joy who became his wife in May of 1959. They continued to work together for more than two decades.


Leonard was an avid reader, starting each day with scripture followed by the daily newspaper and numerous magazines. Always one to offer an opinion on current events, he had a true love of learning and discovering new information.  He enjoyed gardening and was a true handyman - always working on one project or another.  As a young man he gave his heart to the Lord being touched by the lyrics to the hymn Amazing Grace and responding during an alter call.  His relationship with Jesus Christ literally made him the man he was. He was always will to share the gospel, offer spiritual encouragement and help others meet Jesus in anyway he could, including teaching Sunday school for 22 years.


Leonard and Joy moved to Murrieta in 1989, after retirement, to be near their daughter and grandchildren.  In 1992 they took their first cruise and discovered a love for vacations at sea.  For the next twenty years they traveled extensively, visiting Europe, the Panama Canal, the Carribbean, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji and Alaska to name a few.  Together they enjoyed 56 cruises!


Perhaps more than anything else, Leonard was known for his incredible sense of humor.  He had a joke ready for anyone who would listen, developing a reputation everywhere he went. He was so well known for his humor that the most common refrain he heard when he saw someone he knew was, "Leonard, do you have a joke for us?” Making all those who knew him smile up until the very end, he was always answering the question of how he was doing with his trade mark, "I'm in pretty good shape, for the shape I'm in."


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