Leek, George R., Age: 95, Riverside Heights, Middletown

June 22, 2018
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George R. Leek, 95, of Riverside Heights, Middletown, one of the Greatest Generation, died on May 24. Born in Belford to the late Melvin and Theresa (neé Davis) Leek, George lived in Middletown his entire life.

After graduating from Leonardo High School in 1942, George’s interest in aviation led him to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served in the 15th Air Force, 451st Bomber Group, 726th Squadron, stationed in Castellucio, Italy. As a B24 Liberator nose gunner, George participated in 22 strategic bombing missions to oil refineries, marshalling yards, airfields and other industrial targets. He received his honorable discharge in 1945.

Upon returning to civilian life, he married Adele Sellick of Leonardo and together they raised a family of four daughters and one son. George was fond of winter sports and, when conditions were right, he would bundle up his children and take them sledding on the Frost Avenue hill. He loved to ice skate and he enjoyed taking his children to the local ponds for skating sessions. His favorite sport was ice hockey and his favorite team was the New York Rangers. George shared his love of ice sports with his son and grandsons. He coached his son’s youth hockey teams and kept up with his grandsons’ teams as well.

George had an artistic side that he expressed though pen and ink, pastel and acrylic mediums. He rarely exhibited his art, but when he did, he received honorable mentions and awards at the Middletown Senior Citizens Center Art Shows. George encouraged his children to develop their artistic and creative abilities; two of his daughters have also won awards for their paintings.

Merlino, Angelo F., Age: 74, Shrewsbury

George worked as an Avionics Engineer for the Communication Electronic Command (CECOM), Ft. Monmouth, until 1983, when he retired to care for his wife Adele during her illness. Shortly after his retirement, Adele passed away. Looking for something to fill the time, George began driving for a limousine company. He volunteered to drive on holidays so that other drivers could spend the day with their families.

In 1986, George met Shirley Fox Wrensen and fell in love for the second time. They were married in 1987 and together they enjoyed watching their combined family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow.

George was a generous man, giving of himself to others and donating often to charities, especially those that helped children. He is survived by his second wife, Shirley (neé Fox); his four daughters and sons-in-law, Patricia and David Bucko, Lemoyne, Pennsylvania; Maureen and Joe Foster, Oceanport; Janice and Bob Collins, Fort Collins, Colorado; Jeanne and Gene Bruneau, Media, Pennsylvania; and his son, Gordon Leek and his former wife, Kerrie Leek, Valley Center, California. George will be missed by his five grandchildren, Kenneth Bucko and wife Sarah, Fort Collins; Perry Foster, Oceanport; Ian, Carson and Cameron Leek, Valley Center; and by Shirley’s children and spouses: Deborah and Eddie Zigich, Keansburg; Ron and Laura Wrensen, Middletown; Doreen and Eddie Petti, Hazlet; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 4-6 p.m. May 31 at John F. Pfleger Funeral Home, 115 Tindall Road, Middletown. Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 1 at the funeral home. Guests are invited to arrive for the services Friday beginning at 9:30 am. Burial will follow at Fair View Cemetery, Middletown.

Turner, Bernice, Age: 87, Little Silver

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in George’s name to the Meridian@Home Hospice Group.

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