Leon Ralph Delong

 

LeonLeon Ralph Delong, born January 14, 1938 in Bridgewater, Maine, went to sleep on March 22, 2015 in Seattle and awoke in the arms of Jesus. Leon was thankful and overwhelmed by the thoughtful visits, notes and prayers he received in his last weeks. In his final hours he was surrounded by his loving wife and daughter and two special friends singing him to heaven.

 
Reared on a potato farm in Monticello, Maine with 7 siblings, 2 parents and one bathroom, Leon graduated from Houlton High School in 1956. He left the glamour of farming to join the Navy, where he spent most of his time at sea as a Fire Control WP_20150327_003 (2)Technician. His tours included trips to the North Atlantic, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf and while in the Mediterranean he was befriended in Italy by romantic locals. Leon lost his father to Hodgkin’s Disease in 1957. Upon completing his Navy service, Leon followed his sister Joy Keough to the West Coast, where he studied electrical engineering at the University of Washington by day. By night he funded his education parking cars at the 6th & Pine garage and driving cab. He attended opening night at the Coliseum Theater and met his first wife, Maridee Garvey, at Vito’s on Madison Street. They reared their daughter, Allison Delong, in North Seattle.

 
After leaving the UW, Leon worked as a laborer for City of Seattle Parks and then got hired on as a helper at Seattle City Light. He moved up quickly to Journeyman Cable Splicer, retiring as a Cable Splicer Crew Chief after 32 years with SCL. Leon helped install power vaults for landmark buildings such as the Rainier (Bank) Tower, and was occasionally called to shut off power to one well-respected performing arts theater for non-payment. Leon resisted efforts to promote him to management, though he did occasionally fill in as a supervisor, in his words, “doing the heavy looking on”.

 
Leon met his wife of 23 years, Sharon Wester Delong, at SCL and after several years riding their motorcycles together they spent their retirement years playing as many Washington state golf courses as possible, were very active at Grace Fellowship church, and volunteered for many years at Taproot Theater. Leon was a life-long blood donor, and was recently recognized for 15 years of volunteer service to Northwest Harvest in a Seattle Times article by Danny Westneat in which he was dubbed “The TP Guy” (google it). His family is proud to note that Leon was recently nominated for a Washington State Jefferson Award for his public service and volunteerism in connection with his work on behalf of Northwest Harvest.

 
Leon was preceded in death by his mother Dorothy née Hanning, father Elbridge Luther Delong, his sister Joy Keough and brothers Vincent (“Bud”), and Walter. Leon is survived by wife, Sharon, daughter, Allison, son-in-law John Johnson, grandson Ford Johnson, sisters Pat McGowan and Candy Muehleisen, brothers Alvin and Gary, step-son Kevin Vander Ploeg, and countless nephews, nieces and cherished friends.

 
We will celebrate Leon’s life on May 2nd at 2pm at Grace Fellowship, 410 NW 62nd St, Seattle. Everyone is welcome. We will celebrate with Leon’s east coast family and friends in August in his hometown of Monticello, ME. Details to follow here when available.

 
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Leon’s name to Northwest Harvest or Salvation Army.

15 Responses to “Leon Ralph Delong”

  • Candy says:

    I love this photo of Leon in his Navy uniform–I have a vivid memory of him coming home in his uniform & I thought he was the most handsome man ever–quite dashing to say the least. A really good man in every way. He will be greatly missed.

  • Chris and Susan Ward says:

    Leon always wore a smile and had a conversation! And although he didn’t like a big deal made of it, he was always willing to lend a helping hand! He was a humble man and will be missed. Looking forward to seeing you in heaven Leon!

  • Bill Kolden says:

    Good man, good person, sad loss.

  • Gary Colburn says:

    LET There Be LIGHT!

    In 1988 Seattle lost power to 50 square blocks of the downtown network after a contractor drove a piece of rebar into a cable causing a vault fire that spread to other vaults in the downtown network.
    Leon was a network foreman and was assigned to help lead the repair of this huge major downtown outage. It had been more than week and the City Light crews were still working around the clock to get the power back on. People couldn’t get to their apartments as elevators didn’t work. The fire department had to rescue the elderly from their upper story apartments because they couldn’t walk down that many flights of stairs.
    As the outage came to a close, a Seattle City Light upper manager referred the Television media to Leon. He was the Seattle Network Crew Chief in-charge with his crew restoring the power and the media wanted to know how they could tell when the power went on. Leon had the crew rig a light bulb to the network bus so the cameras would have something to see. When things were ready and the dispatcher agreed, Leon said in dramatic fashion with arms raised, “Let there be Light!”. The crew threw the switch and the little light bulb lit up and a major part of the downtown was restored and the TV cameras caught all the glory of a light bulb turning on. Leon told me this story afterwards and I will never forget it because he said having a light bulb go on just wasn’t impressive enough for the news cameras. It was a huge major event looking like someone just turned on a light bulb.
    Leon turned on the lights for Seattle that day and made everything all right for many of the citizens of downtown Seattle so that they could get back to their high rise apartments.
    Jesus and our God turned on Leon’s light and provided power to his elevator to help him get to his high rise apartment. I will miss you Leon. Gary Colburn

  • Michael Soreng says:

    So Long, Leon. See you later.

  • Mary Callnan says:

    Leon was a great friend and a wonderful classmate. He will be greatly missed.

  • Todd Grouard says:

    What a great guy and what a great heart he had! Still has. Leon’s legacy lives on as long as there are those of us who tell his story of compassion, community engagement and kindness! He’ll be sorely missed. Thanks Leon for all you did, volunteering at Northwest Harvest. You made a real difference!

  • David Dill says:

    I went to school with Leon from Fair Street through High School. We always enjoyed each other and he was a good friend and classmate. I was always glad to see him at High School reunions.

  • Gary Farr says:

    We will miss you on the golf courses Leon and hopefully some of us will be able to play golf with you again up there (although not to soon).

  • David Persson says:

    My memories of Leon were of him building sets and in general helping out with plays I was in at UPAC Theatre. He was always cheerful and in good spirits. He always had good stories to tell. I remember him telling stories of his childhood and growing up in Maine. The last time I saw him and Sharon we all had dinner at the Texas BBQ restaurant on Holman Road. I’ll miss you Leon.

  • Ed Hill says:

    Leon was a Crew Chief in the Network when I was an apprentice. He was full on knowledge and had no problem sharing it in his own dramatic fashion. After imparting his wisdom on me, he would send me do the work saying “you need the practice, and I need the rest”. His job was to do the “heavy duty looking on” and making the eights.

    Rest well Leon, I’m still practicing.

  • Allison Delong says:

    I appreciate reading all the memories of my father left by his friends and family. We will miss him so much, but the stories he told (and retold) over the years are so vivid and will remain in my memory forever. Thank you to those who have added new stories I did not know.

  • Lesley Karabach says:

    Don’t eat potatoes with green skin…when you get stuck with the crossword go thru every letter of the alphabet to see if that works…what we don’t finish today we can always finish tomorrow…be aware of “the Greek” bearing gifts…fine words of wisdom from a kind and patient man. Leon, you will be missed.

    And yes, I am still able to sit up and take nourishment…

    Vaya con Dios my friend

  • Kris Peterson says:

    Leon was truly one of a kind. A gentleman, a patient teacher, a pleasure to work with and an all around good guy, I’ll never forget his smile and the twinkle in his eye. The world is a little bit dimmer with him gone. So long, Leon, and thanks for keeping it fun!

  • Sharon Delong says:

    Thanks to Allison for the beautiful bio and to all the family and friends for wonderful comments here, on cards, and in person. We love you and miss you, Leon. Praise God, we know we will see you again!

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