In preparing this eulogy for Leo, I asked everyone who worked for Leo what they thought I ought to say. Capt. Brown told me to say "he was cool." Mr. Jerry Erwin told me that he had many bosses in his 33 years of service and that he could count the real leaders on one hand. He said Leo topped them all. Ms. Mary Maxey told me that the first and probably last time Leo actually held a staff meeting he told everyone that when they came in the door of his office they were the most important person in the world. And that he lived up to that statement. I think Mary's statement accurately captures Leo's magic--he always made you feel important.
I can still remember the day Leo walked into our office and sat down at the desk next to me. I asked him many things that day, and it was probably when he told me he was a Deadhead that I realized he was special. It became even more evident when I quoted a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and he finished it without missing a beat. At that point, I knew Leo was the genuine article.
Over the next couple of years Leo's influence would mold and shape me professionally and personally because he was both a friend and a comrade in arms.
In a professional sense, Leo taught me that you didn't have to lose yourself in your profession. Leo let me be myself. He gave me a lot of rein and never yanked the bit. Sometimes he applied gentle pressure, but he applied it slowly and with a smile.
Leo's greatest gift to me as a friend was that he made me a richer, more understanding person. He taught me that we can view life with a kind of crooked smile. Leo saw the humor in every situation and if he were giving this Eulogy, would have you all rolling in the aisles by now.
My short two years with Leo were an incredible voyage. I remember the time I asked him if there were any astrological events coming up. He looked at me with a wry smile and told me I could check my horoscope in the paper if I really wanted to know, but that there was an astronomical event. It was a meteor shower, and I dragged my wife out in the foothills of Albuquerque at ten o'clock that night to see it. I remember the splendor of the display. The streaks of white and green raining down o ut of the heavens. We had never seen anything like it.
Leo even had a profound affect on my dog. It was Leo who convinced us to let her sleep in the bed, under the covers. To this day Leo is the only stranger who ever touched my dog without having her bark or growl. She just melted under his touch. I think that perhaps she knew he had a hand in enriching her life too.
But the times I remember the most were those we spent just shooting the breeze. I could talk with Leo about anything. And we would talk in depth. Leo listened and made me feel that what I had to say mattered. He never lectured but often cajoled. He opened his mind to possibilities. I already miss those conversations because we had them every day. During one of those conversations Leo told me that his crowning achievement in the Air Force was getting his entire squadron to do the "Time Warp" while they were deployed to Saudi Arabia. It's a simple way to contact Leo 'cause it's just a jump to the left and a step to the right put your hands on your hips, bring your knees in tight. But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane. Let's do the, time warp again, let's do the time warp again..Ahhh, there he is...Page by Tom Stalzer