Carville Leaf, 83, veteran, an engineer with Bendix

March 05, 2001|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Carville B. Leaf Sr., who in 1944 landed with Allied troops in the Normandy invasion and fought across Europe, died Saturday at Augsburg Lutheran Home in Lochearn of complications from a stroke. He was 83.

Born in Reisterstown, Mr. Leaf graduated from Franklin High School, where he played soccer and baseball. He worked several years at the Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant, but, like many Americans then, was watching unsettling events unfolding in Europe.

He enlisted in the Army in 1940 and was with the 29th Infantry Division.

While in England preparing for Normandy, Mr. Leaf, then a sergeant, rendezvoused with a young Army surgical nurse, Lt. Marie McGee, and the two were married in Stone, England, three weeks before the invasion of the European mainland.

They had met in Baltimore, and she joined the nursing corps to be with him. Their marriage lasted 56 years. She survives.

Mr. Leaf had high-risk duty - as a forward observer for his division's 110th Field Artillery. Usually alone, he was in advance of the forward combat elements and radioed map coordinates and other information for fire missions against the Germans.

He took part in hedgerow fighting in France and across Belgium, Holland and Germany. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a recipient of the Purple Heart.

"It took a long time for Dad to talk about his time in the war," said a son, Dennis Leaf of Dayton. "We all remember the story of how he tried to make coffee for his men while they waited to go ashore in a landing craft. The English Channel was tossing all those guys around, and yet he felt it important to try to make them feel as comfortable as was possible."

After the war, Mr. Leaf worked for American Totalisator in Baltimore.

He then was hired by the field engineering division of Bendix Corp. based in Owings Mills, where he worked as a logistics engineer.

He traveled the world for Bendix, taking his family with him to posts in Alaska and Hawaii. He also worked in Australia, South America and Madagascar.

Bendix downsized in the early 1970s, and Mr. Leaf lost his job. He worked a variety of jobs in the Baltimore area until the mid-1980s, when he retired.

Mr. Leaf enjoyed gardening.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Loring Byers Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown.

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include two daughters, Barbara Stewart of Richmond, Va., and Pat Ritter of Finksburg; two other sons, Carville B. Leaf Jr. of Denton and Michael Leaf of Bel Air; and 12 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the National World War II Memorial Fund, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 501, Arlington, Va. 22201.

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