August 22, 1920 – May 17, 2020
Leo Odell Winchester, 99, Joplin, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020 at the Missouri Veterans Home in Mt. Vernon. He was born August 22, 1920, in Neosho, Missouri to Clyde and Bertha (Morgan) Winchester. Leo had three brothers; Clarence, Glen, and Delmar, and three sisters; Ilene, Marie, and Dorene.
Leo grew up in Neosho and later moved to Joplin. He married Geneva (Lawhon) Perry in 1939. Together they had two children, Gary Winchester and Glenda Sue (Winchester) Lawson. He married Nelda (Price) Winchester on October 4, 1962.
Leo enlisted in the United States Navy in 1941. He served aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Corregidor, in the Pacific Ocean until December 1945. His years in the military made an indelible impression on his life. He loved to share stories of his time on the Corregidor. His experiences made him emotional every time he recalled them, especially the loss of fellow soldiers. Leo was a true military hero and was recognized for his service many times. In 2018, he participated in the Honor Flight to Washington, DC. to be recognized as a war veteran hero.
Leo and Nelda lived most of their adult lives in Oklahoma City where he was a real estate broker. He enjoyed a successful career in real estate and took pride in his career. Leo obtained a pilot’s license while in the real estate business. He enjoyed flying and maintained his license until he was 80. He was a 72nd degree Mason and a faithful member of Immanuel Lutheran church in Joplin. Later in life, he and Nelda enjoyed traveling in their RV. They were members of an RV club and took many interesting trips. Leo also enjoyed gardening and growing his own vegetables.
Leo was proceeded in death by his parents, Clyde and Bertha, his first wife, Geneva, his second wife, Nelda, his two children, Gary and Sue and all six of his siblings. He is survived by his son-in-law, Benny Lawson of Springfield, six grandsons, and nine great-grandchildren.
Graveside services will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday, May 21, 2020, at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Lamar, MO.
Condolences may be shared at www.dfhlamar.com.