Tribute to Leon "Lee" Everett Bagley
Branch of Service: US Navy
Unit: 40th Naval Construction Battalion
Specialty: Electrician's Mate, 2nd Class
Leon Everett Bagley was born Dec. 30, 1921 in Ogdensburg, NY, and grew up on a farm in northern NY. He graduated from high school and his dream of going to college wasn't a possibility. He took a machine shop course at night school at Clarkson College after which he went to Buffalo to work. He enlisted in September 1943, attended boot camp at Camp Peary, VA, followed by further training at Camp Endicott, in Davisville, RI. After that he went to Gulf Port, Mississippi, leaving there Dec. 31st for the South Pacific. He sailed from Gulf Port on Moore McCormick's ship the "Moore Mac Sea" arriving at Finschaven, New Guinea on February 13, 1944 where he was assigned to the 40th Naval Construction Battalion. The battalion had arrived at Finschaven on Dec. 22, 1943. The 40th then moved to Los Negros in the Admiralties later in February, 1944. On July 21st, 1944, the 40th left Los Negros for Noumea, New Caledonia to be outfitted for Okinawa. Leon remained at New Caledonia as part of the 18th Naval Construction Battalion, finally returning to the United States in the fall of 1945. Leon was an Electrician's Mate, 2nd Class. He was at several other islands before Los Negros. He returned to the States to be honorably discharged at Lido Beach, Long Island Dec. 22, 1945.
Leon lost his front teeth as a result of a plane crash at Los Negros. He spent years and many partial plates trying to find one that fit. The first one was made in New Caledonia and was made of gold.
Leon always felt he had been given "something extra", being able to take advantage of the GI Bill which gave him the education he dreamed of while growing up. That college degree in Engineering led him to a very successful 35 year career in General Electric's Space Division. He had 23 years of retirement and enjoyed every day. He always gave a lot of himself to coaching little league and biddy basketball at the local YMCA. He was always ready to give a helping hand whether it was at church, for a neighbor, or whatever.
We were married on September 2nd, 1954. We had two daughters, followed by three sons.
In January 2006, Leon was diagnosed with Spindle Cell Sarcoma, a type of lung cancer that isn't treatable. He took the prognosis in his usual stride, appreciating how many years he had been given. He was up and about until he went to the hospital the day before he went home to be with the Lord, May 20th, 2006.
He always wanted his ashes to be taken to Arlington, but that isn't possible now. Instead we chose to have them interred at Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park. For twenty-six years he drove by there on his way to and from General Electric. Two of our sons still live in the area.
We started coming to Texas nineteen years ago, spending winters here and summers up on the St. Lawrence River where we both grew up. Now I will spend most of my time at our Texas home.
Submitted by Rachael Bagley (wife)
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