Wiilaim A. "Bill" McLeish
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William A. "Bill" McLeish
Bill McLeish, age 96, formerly of Columbus, Ohio and Anderson, South Carolina died on April 29, 2018 at Robin Run Village in Indianapolis, Indiana from congestive heart failure. He was preceded in death by his parents, Allen and Ruth (Davis) McLeish of Columbus and his sister Mary Lynn Honnold of Gahanna, Ohio. He is survived by his beloved wife of 71 years, Jean McLeish, sisters Louise Burkart of Grove City, Ohio and Betsy (Jack) Gallagher of St. Petersburg, Florida, son Bruce (Chris) McLeish of Dublin, Ohio, daughters Barbara (John) Lyter of Indianapolis, Indiana and Beth (Todd) Caldwell of Sammamish, Washington, 7 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
Bill was born on March 7, 1922 in Columbus, Ohio. He grew up in the Columbus community of Shepard and graduated from Columbus East High School in 1940. After high school, Bill worked as a machinist apprentice for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In his spare time he liked to work on cars and take flying lessons (as he could afford them). He enlisted in the Navy V-5 (pilot training) program in September 1942 and completed the program in February 1944. He was commissioned an ensign and designated a naval aviator. Bill was assigned to be a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida where he taught the PBY (a sea plane) and instrument flying. In June of 1946 he was transferred to Annapolis, Maryland where he instructed midshipmen in basic flight training. While there he met Jean Emley, a nurse from Hammonton, New Jersey, via mutual friends, and after his discharge they were married on October 20, 1946. The newlyweds moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and Bill enrolled at the Indiana Technical Institute on the GI Bill while Jean supported them working as an RN at Methodist Hospital. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in mechanical engineering and they moved to Columbus, Ohio where Bill took a job with the Jeffrey Mining Machinery Company. President Harry Truman had asked former military pilots to keep up their certifications to aid America's military readiness in light of post war global tensions. Bill joined a volunteer reserve unit to keep his flight credentials current and with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 he got into an active navy reserve squadron. This meant that he served one weekend per month of active duty plus one two week active stint per year. His employer supported this and he served continuously in this role until 1965. Bill attained 20 years of military service and at the time of his death his military status was retired reserve with a rank of lieutenant commander. Bill's career with Jeffrey progressed during this period and he took many trips to deep coal mines in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky to set up and service Jeffrey mining equipment. Eventually these trips extended to deep mines of various kinds in the western United States, Canada, and South America. Bill became the chief engineer of the conveyer group and when Jeffrey was sold to Dresser Industries in the 1970's, Dresser offered him the opportunity to relocate to South Carolina. Bill and Jean moved to Anderson, South Carolina in 1976 where he continued his work in the mining machinery industry until his retirement in 1984. In his retirement he enjoyed traveling with Jean all through the United States and Canada, playing golf, and maintaining his property. He was active in the Anderson Golden K chapter and participated with the local meals on wheels program. In 2004 he and Jean made their final move to Indianapolis, Indiana to be closer to family in their golden years. Even though Bill beat lung cancer, brain cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer, father time finally got the best of him. He is remembered as a wonderful husband, father, friend, and neighbor. There will be a private celebration of his life on May 15, 2018 at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 1402 W. Main Street, Carmel, Indiana 46032 followed by interment with military honors. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Bill's memory. Friends and family can visit www.flannerbuchanan.com to share memories and condolences.