Dexter (Dek) Leland, 90, of Holland, died Monday, October 5, 2009, at Oak Crest Manor. Dexter was born in Utica, New York on August 20, 1919. His parents were Isaac and Louise Baum Leland of Hamilton, New York. Dexter was a graduate of Hamilton Central High where he served as class president for four years. He received his B.A. in history from Duke University and attended postgraduate courses at Colgate University. At Duke he was a member of the Lambda Chi Fraternity. He married Irene Mae Norton on December 31, 1941.
Dek served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. In 1945 he served in the reconstruction of the Philippines. Dek taught history, government and economics at several high schools in New York state. Among them were Horseheads and East Aurora, New York. In 1962 he moved his family to the San Frnacisco Bay area where he taught at Westmoor High School in Daly City, California.
After retiring in 1979, he and Irene moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he became active in city government and was president of the Historical Society. At each town of residence, Irene and Dek were active members of the Episcopal Church. The last church they attended together was St. Michael’s and All Angels in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dexter moved to Bishop, California after Irene’s death in 1994. In Bishop, Dek served on the Grand Jury for Inyo County, was an active member in the Democratic Party and League of Women Voters. He was an ombudsman for nursing home residents in Bishop as well. Since 2001, Dexter has lived in Holland near his oldest daughter and her husband. He has been a member of Grace Episcopal Church and resided at Oak Crest Manor the last six years.
During his teaching career, Dek’s students appreciated his wit, humor, and puns which he linked to key events in history. He was frequently invited to be the master of ceremonies at assemblies and homecoming events. By friends he was known for his thoughtfulness, gratitude and concern for others in his community, state, nation and world. He was an ardent composer of letters to the editor wherever he lived with special attention to various social and political issues. In his family he displayed devotion, love and generosity as a husband, father, grandfather, and great- grandfather. His humorous poems on birthdays delighted everyone. An animal lover, he was especially fond of his dogs.
Dexter was preceded in death by his wife, Irene Norton Leland; his brother, Darwin Leland of Glens Falls, New York. Dexter is survived by his brother, Carl Leland; daughter, Linda and Robert Elder of Holland, Lisa Leland of Phoenix, Arizona, Dexter Leland Jr. of Sebastopol, California, Margaret and Jerry Hooper of San Diego, California; four granddaughters; one grandson; and seven great-grandchildren survive him.
A memorial service will be at Grace Episcopal Church, 555 Michigan Ave. on Sunday, October 25 at 1: 30 p. m. Arrangements are by Lakeshore Memorial Services. Memorials may be made to Harbor Humane Society, Grace Episcopal Church or Hospice of Holland.
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