Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D.
May 11, 2005
When I received the call from Sheri about my brother, Melvin's passing, numerous fond memories of Meb flashed through my mind and I would like to share a few of them with you.
In his book, The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw describes my brother's Generation as: "This generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values - - duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country, and above all, responsibility for oneself." This statement summarizes the way Meb lived his life.
From the time I was a young child, I always respected Meb's wisdom, work ethic, knowledge and sense of humor. Behind a sometime abrupt and impatient facade was a devoted, loving and caring individual. On many occasions, as I was growing up, Meb acted as a surrogate father and mentor offering valuable advice and counsel.
Meb was very influential in encouraging me to continue my college education when I was considering dropping out of West Chester and working for the Sun Pipe Line Company. I can still remember Meb telling me, "Don, they can take away many things from you, but they can't take away your education." His advice led me to obtaining a bachelor's degree from West Chester which provided the foundation for a wonderful career.
When I was 16 years old, Meb taught me how to drive. The day I passed my driver's test, Meb offered the use of his new green, Chevy sedan to take my date out that evening. It was raining, and the roads were slick. The car spun out of control, hitting a wall on all four bumper guards protecting the fenders. Luckily there was very little damage to the car, and there were no injuries. I immediately drove the car back to Meb and Chook's house and nervously reported my accident to him. Without even looking at the car, Meb told me that if I wasn't hurt to take the car back out and continue on with my date.
I remember the many barbecues which Meb and Chook hosted providing family and friends with an abundance of corn, clams, oysters, burgers, hot dogs, baked lima beans, and home made ice cream. Meb always encouraged his guests to have more than one serving, and I can assure you nobody ever went away hungry from Meb and Chook's house.
Our daughters often discussed the fun times we had when Meb would take us to the Shady Maple Restaurant. He always made sure that we went through the buffet line more than once.
I remember the pride when Meb and Chook finished building their house on the hill and named it Wat a Vu. Meb loved, enjoyed and valued his family and I believe "Leisey Hill" is his legacy and monument to his family.
Meb had a successful career selling for Campbell Soups, partnering with Walter White in a market in Honey Brook, working on the Sun Pipe Line and retiring from Pepperidge Farms as a plant manager. He was an outstanding entrepreneur and successful businessman. I remember Meb and Chook working long hours building their business at their self-service market in Glenmoore. When I worked for him at the store, he was a real task master and made sure I was earning every penny he was paying me. He never liked to see anyone standing around! I learned a lot about business working for him.
I will be eternally grateful for Meb's devotion and assistance to our Mother and Father during the latter years of their lives. After my Father passed away and my Mother moved to Pottstown, Meb would either visit her or phone her every day, taking care of her many needs.
Meb is one of my heroes for his brave service to our country during World War II. As a sailor in the Navy, Meb fought in the Battle of Normandy. I remember him telling me that under heavy enemy gun fire, his LST was one of the few ships to escape safely after delivering troops, weaponry, and fighting vehicles to Omaha Beach. It is ironic that Meb passed away on the 60th Anniversary of Victory in the Europe, VE Day.
Thank you Meb for everything you have done for us. You will be sorely missed.