Vernon Leck


November 24, 1930  –  March 21, 2024


image of Vernon Leck

Vernon Leck

Vernon Gene Leck “Vern”, of Mercer Island, Washington, was born on November 24, 1930, in Toledo Ohio as the second of four sons to George Herman Leck and Helen Gertrude Lange, and passed away March 21, 2024, after a brief illness.

Vern attended St. James Grade School, and graduated from Macomber High School in Toledo, while living in the same house with his parents and brothers to whom he was very close. Vern served in the US Air Force for four years during the Korean Conflict. He returned and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics degree from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. He was the founding president of the University of Toledo Alumni Association Seattle Chapter.

During his high school summers, the Toledo Zoo presented mainstage opera in the amphitheater. Although Vern and his friends could not afford tickets, they sat on a grassy knoll outside the zoo wooden fence to hear the opera and watch through cracks and holes in the fence. This began his lifelong love of opera, first attending opera while serving as a GI in Germany and later being a longtime season ticket holder with the Seattle Opera.

In matters of the heart, Vern experienced both trials and triumphs of love. While in college, he met and married Joan Hope. After some years they parted ways. Several years later, while sailing, he met Marilyn Groce. Following their marriage, they resided on Mercer Island for forty years until his passing.

Professionally, Vern’s career as an aeronautical avionics software engineer spanned four decades. This opportunity led him to Los Angeles, California with Hughes, Lockheed, and McDonald Douglas, then Seattle, Washington with Boeing, and Sundstrand Data. He was a certified Toastmaster for many years (club president in 1998) and certified ISO 9000 Quality Assurance Software Standards Consultant (Rutgers University).

Being outdoors and active, Vern enjoyed golf, skiing, sailing, hunting, running, and walking. He liked family events, painting and sketching, playing the guitar, Calvin & Hobbes, crossword puzzles, martinis, suspense novels, and his homemade bread lathered with peanut butter. He continued to walk his neighborhood logging at least 5,000 steps daily on his Fitbit until he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. For seven weeks he tried both outpatient and inpatient procedures. His heart did not respond and grew weaker.

Throughout his life, Vern found solace in spiritual contemplation. He attended daily Mass for decades. He was a van driver for St. Monica Friends of the Needy. He was a regular with Bible Study. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and Rotary. In retirement, he was approached by other professional retirees to join them in becoming a school bus driver with the Mercer Island School District. His favorite routes were driving special needs children home, and student athletes to golf meets.

Family events were cherished by Vern. He was present for every occasion, from marriages to births, from birthdays to graduations, from celebrations to moments of sorrow. His unwavering presence and steadfast support were a source of comfort and strength. He exuded a sense of home and a feeling of safety and kindness. Vern was a Midwest guy who believed in showing up for faith and family. His warm smile and humorous conversations will be missed.

Vernon is preceded in death by his parents George and Helen; brothers Raymond (Ray), Donald, (Don), and Norman (Norm); and spouse Joan. He is survived by his spouse Marilyn; children Michael (Nicolle), Jeffery, Mary (Bud Melcher), John (Stephanie), Anna, and Samantha (Dylan Moberg); grandchildren Stacy (Cris Gonzales), David (Thanh-Mai), Michael, Nicole (Don Canham), Kyle, Anthony (Melissa), Jacob, and Elizabeth; great-grandchildren Serina (Corey Haders), Angelina, Lilyana, Gabriel, and Elliot.

In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to the Knights of Columbus in Vern’s name. Checks can be made payable to “Knights of Columbus – St. Monica Council” and mailed to PO Box 543, Mercer Island, 98040.

A Funeral Mass is scheduled for May 23, 11:00AM, at St. Monica Catholic Church, 4301 88th Avenue SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040. A Rosary is scheduled for May 23, 10:20AM at St. Monica. A reception is scheduled in St. Monica Family Center after Mass.

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