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Wayne Leonard LeRoy 1921 - 2022
Wayne Leonard LeRoy

FORT COLLINS — On Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, Wayne Leonard LeRoy, loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great grandfather, passed away peacefully at the amazing age of 101 - despite the claims of his family that he would outlive them all. Wayne was born March 16, 1921 in Albert, Kan. to Andy and Lillie (Fenn) LeRoy. Wayne, one of four children of a Kansas farmer, helped his family successfully navigate the dust bowl and the great depression in rural Kansas. 

He met the love of his life Loretta Mayes in high school. After escorting her home from a dance where she was left stranded by her date, Wayne and Loretta became inseparable and married in 1941. They raised two daughters, Judy and Janet. Wayne worked as a draftsman at Boeing in Wichita, Kan. in the beginning of World War II, helping design the tail section for the B-29 Superfortress Bomber. After his essential work was completed for war efforts at Boeing, Wayne joined the Army Air Corps, and was stationed on Guam and Saipan in the Pacific He flew 28 missions over Japan as a top turret gunner in a B-29 with the 882nd Bomb Squadron, 500th Bomb Group, 73rd Bomber Wing of the 20th Air Force, earning the rank of Sergeant. Wayne’s design expertise from Boeing saved the lives of his B29 crew when he used a special procedure from the airplane plant to transfer fuel to the two remaining engines on the plane and return safely to Saipan. Without his unique knowledge, the plane would have run out of fuel over the open ocean. After WWII, Wayne returned to Kansas and worked at Krause Plow for several years. He and his family eventually moved to and farmed the Mayes family homestead in Great Bend while he pursued a degree in aeronautical engineering through correspondence school. In 1957, Wayne returned to work as an engineer at Boeing until his retirement in 1977. In retirement, Wayne and Loretta relocated to Fort Collins, Colo., where Wayne designed and built their custom home, and pursued his passion for fine woodworking. Creating multiple heirloom pieces for both his family and friends, Wayne enjoyed his time in his shop, travelling and picnicking with Loretta, playing “Pitch” and “Pinochle”, visiting with friends, time with his family, smiling, laughing, and telling amazing stories. 

Wayne was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years Loretta; brothers Raymond, Alvin and Elmer; and daughter Janet McPherson. He is survived by daughter Judy (Terry) Blankenship; four grandchildren, Kevin (Denise) Blankenship, Michelle (Michael Stiebing) Blankenship, Samantha (Michael Matthews) Blankenship, Shannon (Brock) Spangler; five great-grandchildren, Nathan (Megan) Blankenship, Aaron (Eliana) Blankenship, Lauren Blankenship, Leilani Spangler, Tiana Spangler; and great-great granddaughter Mariah Spangler. A public viewing will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Collins, Colo. on Aug. 11, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m., with a funeral service at 11 a.m., followed by a short reception. A private interment will be held for the family at Grandview Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either the military charity The Gary Sinise Foundation or Pathways Hospice in Fort Collins, Colorado. To learn more about Wayne’s military service, see his interview at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Allnut Funeral Service

650 W. Drake Rd.

Ft. Collins, CO 80526

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Aug. 10, 2022