Leo Napoleon McDaniel was born December 18, 1924 in Cheyenne, Oklahoma to Henry Alonzo and Florence Rebecca (Smith) McDaniel. Leo was the fifth of six children born to poor, honest, hardworking farmers in Oklahoma. At the age of 16, with only a learner’s permit, he drove another family from Oklahoma to California.
Leo had two brothers who lived in California, so he stayed with them until the war broke out, at which time he returned home to Oklahoma to help his parents on the farm. He was then drafted into the US Navy in 1944. Because of his marksmanship he was assigned to the Naval Armed Guard as a Naval Gunner on a merchant ship.
Leo made two trips around the world, but was thankful his ship never had to fire upon anyone nor was his ship fired on. Being in the Navy allowed Leo opportunities to visit many countries he wouldn’t otherwise have been able to. Leo was honorably discharged from the US Navy in 1946; at which time he met Geraldine “Jerri” Wainwright.
Leo and Jerri were married May 28, 1948 in the Presbyterian Church in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Leo and Jerri were blessed with three sons; Robert Henry, David Leo, and Mark Steven. They decided California was no place to raise their boys. After visiting Jerri’s uncle in Redding, Iowa, they decided to move back to the Midwest purchasing a farm and moving to the Redding area in February 1962.
In 1983, Leo and Jerri decided Iowa winters were just too cold for them so they bought a RV and started going to the Valley in Mission, Texas for the winters. Leo made over 300 Pegs and Jokers board games; he loved to dance, bowl, and was a very sharp card and game player. You could say Leo never knew a stranger.
Leo passed away October 2, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jerri, on March 17, 2013; parents; and five siblings.
Leo is survived by his three sons: Robert (Diane) McDaniel of Olympia, Washington, David (Brenda) McDaniel of Dousman, Wisconsin, and Mark McDaniel of Redding, Iowa; seven grandchildren Kristopher (Nina) McDaniel of Syracuse, New York, Katherine McDaniel of Bellevue, WA, Eric (Catherine) McDaniel of Waunkee, WI, Scott McDaniel of Fort Atkinson, WI, Teresa McDaniel of East Troy, WI, Rachel McDaniel of Kellerton, IA, Ryan McDaniel of Fairfax, MO; and seven great grandchildren Leneah and Safira McDaniel, Noah and Kara McDaniel, Michael, Brandon, and Brittany Lane; his companion of four years who brought much joy to his life, Donna Mosbarger, of Grant City, MO; and a host of relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Services were at 10:30 a.m. Friday, October 6, 2017 at the Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr, Iowa with Pastor Bill Armstrong officianting.
Musicians were Nancy Sackett and Korbie Rinehart. The songs were “Amazing Grace” and “Down to The River to Pray”.
Casketbearers were Katherine McDaniel, Teresa McDaniel, Ryan McDaniel, Michael Lane, Brandon Lane, Walt McGinnis, and Dale Walkup.
Military honors were provided by the Blockton American Legion Post 443 and the Navy Honor Guard Unit.
He was laid to rest at the Redding Cemetery in Redding, Iowa.
Memorial fund goes to the Local V.F.W.