Obituary of General Leon E Salomon
General Leon Edward Salomon (Retired) passed peacefully under hospice care with his family by his side on July 14th, 2023. Born on April 27, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois, Lee attended Little Flower Elementary School and graduated from Calumet High School. He moved to Clearwater, FL in 1954 and attended St. Petersburg Junior College, then graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in Chemistry and Biology in 1958.
Lee entered the United States Army via the draft as an enlisted soldier, was selected for Officer Candidate School (OCS) and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in 1959. He then came home to St Petersburg Florida on leave and met the love of his life Shirley. They met at a Friday night dance at the Clearwater Auditorium. They discovered they had both grown up in Chicago, attended rival high schools, moved with their parents to Florida, attended SPJC, and had mutual friends in both Chicago and Florida. They were engaged to be married three days later. Lee returned to his duty station, and they went on a total of 12 dates prior to marrying in February of 1960. Thus began a 63-year partnership that took them on journeys throughout the United States, Europe, and the world, and for their special times in Paris. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in 2023.
General Salomon’s distinguished career spanned almost 38 years. His early service during the Vietnam Conflict where he conducted Combat Air Crew Operations molded him into an officer who deeply cared for Army Soldiers and families. He trained soldiers at posts in Missouri and Alabama, was involved in NATO theater logistics in Orleans France and Mannheim Germany and led the first logistics digitization efforts at Fort Cavazos (formerly Ft. Hood), Texas. He commanded the 19th Maintenance Battalion in Germany and later the Division Support Command, First Cavalry Division.
As a General Officer he served as the Deputy Commanding General 21st Theater Support Command, Chief of the Ordnance Center & School, and the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff of Logistics/G-4. General Salomon culminated his career with selection to 4 Star General Officer and Commanding General of the United States Army Materiel Command, “The Arsenal of The Brave.” He has served as the Honorary Chief of Ordnance and is an inductee into the Ordnance Hall of Fame and in the OCS Hall of Fame. His numerous awards and decorations include: Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal (3 awards), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal.
After his retirement from the Army in 1996, he served as the Vice President for Procurement and Logistics, and then Senior Vice President for Procurement at Rubbermaid Corporation. He also worked as a Logistics Consultant and was on the Board of Directors for Global Security Management, ATC Materials, Inc., Eagle Systems and Services, Inc., American Patriot Group, and Admiral Farragut Academy. He was a Senior Fellow of AUSA, served on The Army Science Board as a senior advisor and served on the Congressional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.
Lee loved sports and played many throughout his life. He was a life-long Cubs fan often quoted as saying “The Cubs are gonna win the pennant this year.” One of his lasting memories was sitting on his father’s knee listening to Cubs games on the radio. At Calumet High, he was the captain and center of his football team, wrestled and ran track winning the city championship in the 4 x 440 yard relay. He lost his front teeth in a volleyball game. He played handball, softball, and basketball throughout his military career, often bringing his daughter along to weekend games. He wasn’t a swimmer, but cheered on his sons in many, many swim meets. In the mid-1970’s Lee began his passion for running four to six miles almost every day for his last 20 years in the military. Upon retirement, he became an avid golfer. He was a beloved member of the Pasadena Yacht & Country Club for 34 years where he developed many dear and lasting friendships. He was also a member of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.
While Lee’s Army career consumed much of his time, he always made time for family. Family vacations were an adventure, and Lee made sure they were fun. Whether as family team captain at a Canary Island Resort, visiting the Space Shuttle at Cape Canaveral, eating dinner in Paris with Shirley, seeing musicals in NYC, Tampa Bay Rays baseball games with his grandkids, or making up new games to play with his grandkids at the pool, G-PA Lee always brought his sense of humor and love of fun. His belief in the goodness of people knew no bounds, and friends were always treated like family. He also enjoyed his and Shirley’s many trips to Sweden to visit her family. They really made Lee one of their own.
Lee also loved movies, theater, and music. His favorite movies were The Blues Brothers (Chicago!) and The Godfather Trilogy. His favorite musical artists included Frank Sinatra, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Chet Baker, and Joe Pass. His favorite television show was Law & Order… all of them. He passed down his love of films to his family, and rarely a conversation goes by without a movie quote or reference. Family Christmas gatherings with Lee were always filled with laughter, banter, and love while playing Trivial Pursuit. While the correct answer was required to open a gift, everyone always got the answer with Lee as the moderator. Lee loved spending time with his family.
Lee passed away on July 14th, 2023, from complications associated with Parkinson’s Disease. A devoted Catholic, he was preceded in death by his father, Milton Salomon, his mother Marcella Salomon (née Johnson), his stepfather Michael Lyons, his sister Grace Ann, and his brother Donald. He is survived by his wife Shirley (née Fredberg), his children Jeff and wife Juliet, Greg and wife Kara, Kristen and husband John, his six grandchildren, Olivia, Daniel, Milo, Rose, Thomas, Gabbie, and several devoted nieces & nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Emergency Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Warrior Foundation (https://eodwarriorfoundation.org).
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