Russell Lester Leach Jr walked triumphantly through the gates of Heaven on September 2, 2019 after a very brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was born on December 9, 1929 to Russell Lester and Olive Marie (Rice) Leach Sr. in Francesville, Indiana.
Russ (known as Les to his family and childhood friends) spent his childhood with his parents and sister, Donna, growing up in the Francesville area.
He joined the Air Force in November 1950. Throughout his 20 year career, he was stationed all around the world. In 1955, while stationed in Illinois, he and a buddy traveled across state lines to St. Louis, Missouri, for church one Sunday, where he met Alice Pauline Barnes, and fell in love. They were married later that year on November 26, 1955 at Lafayette Park Church of the Nazarene in St. Louis. There are few family members or friends that have not heard Russ and Alice talk of their courtship. We will all cherish moments of family dinners and many stories of their life together.
Russ was well known for his love for bowling but especially for traveling the roads of Indiana on his scooter to visit friends. If he knew where you lived, there was a good chance at some point he would show up in your driveway to visit or take a brief nap until you got home. He knew no stranger and could carry on a lively conversation with anyone he met. Later in life, Russell enjoyed his morning breakfast with the 'Breakfast House' gang. They remained his close friends until the day of his passing.
He will be forever known for his funny tales of events that occurred through his life, for his old-timer 'sayings' and for coming up with a song for just about any word you could mention. But most of all, Russell will forever be known for his unfailing love for Christ. It was no secret that he knew he had a mansion waiting for him and that Christ died on the Cross for us all so that we might be free for all eternity.
Russell retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service, including serving in the Vietnam War during the Tet Offensive in 1968. He then went on to retire from Delphi (General Motors) after 28.5 years of service. He was a member of First Church of the Nazarene, in Kokomo, as well as UAW Local 292, in Kokomo.
Along with his wife of nearly 64 years, Alice, Russell leaves behind a host of family and friends that will cherish his memory. Surviving are children, Cheryl Jameson-Obenchain, Monica (Paul) McMain, Michael Scott (Marcia) Leach, all of Kokomo; grandchildren, Randy (Ginger) Obenchain, Josh (Dannielle) Obenchain, of El Paso, Texas, Wesley Obenchain, of Kokomo, David (Nicole) Chasteen, of San Francisco, California, Aaron (Molly) Chasteen, of Yorktown, Matthew Chasteen, of Hartland, Michigan, Jason McMain, of Kokomo, Matt and Sarah Ritzmann, of Union, Kentucky, Allison (Justin) Weaver, of Bellevue, Nebraska, and Adam (Meagan) Leach, of Burbank, California. Russ was blessed with many great grandchildren who called him "Grandpa Great", Luke and Katie Obenchain, of Kokomo, Gavin Obenchain, of El Paso, Texas, Jamie, Caleb, Teagan, and Tanessa Obenchain, of Russiaville, Silas and Jude Chasteen, of Yorktown, Tanner McMain, of Kokomo, Parker Ritzmann, of Spokane, Washington, and Lleyton, Addis, Camden, and Graham Ritzmann, of Union, Kentucky. Certainly last but not least, Russell was able to welcome his newest great-grandson Elisha Michael Weaver, of Nebraska, and enjoy holding him just before passing. Even in his final hours, this gave him joy. Thank you as well to Patsy Pylat who adopted our family as her own and has come to help us with whatever we ask of her. We have come to love and appreciate her.
There will be a Celebration of Russell’s going home to heaven. Services will be at 1pm Saturday, September 7, 2019, at First Church of the Nazarene, 2734 S. Washington St., Kokomo, with Dr. Garey Miller officiating. Burial will follow at Albright Cemetery, with military honors provided by the U.S. Air Force and the Kokomo VFW Military Rites Team. Friends may visit with the family from 4pm - 7pm on Friday at the church. Russell loved the Lord with all his heart and hoped that he will rejoice with you in Heaven one day. Contributions may be made to the Jackson Street Commons. Online condolences may be made at www.stoutandson.com. Stout & Son Funeral Home, Russiaville, is assisting the family.