Walla Walla resident, Leonard Alexander Pruss, died September 21, 2011.
He had just turned 91 years old and had been in and out of the hospital the last month and
died at home from natural causes.
The memorial service will be 4:00 p.m., Saturday, September 24, 2011, at the VA
Hospital Chapel. (Due to construction, friends are advised to use the Poplar Street
entrance to the VA Hospital grounds and park across the street from the chapel).
Pastor Skip Pritchard of the College Place Presbyterian Church will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to Walla Walla Community Hospice and
the WWII Veterans Fund through Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, 1551 Dalles
Military Road, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
Leonard was born September 9, 1920, in Loup City, Nebraska to Frank and
Valeria Pruss. He graduated from high school in 1938. A survivor of the Great
Depression, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (later called the Air Force) in 1939.
On July 12, 1942, he and Viola Jean Davis married at St. Luke's Church in Tacoma,
Washington. He was honorably discharged in December, 1945, as a Chief Warrant
Officer. While in the service, he attended the School of Chief Inspector General's
Division in Florida in 1942. He traveled all over the United States going to Air Force
bases and making sure all of the men had their wills, dog tags and paperwork before
they shipped out to Europe. He wanted to stay in the service, as he loved it, saying
it was the best experience. He loved all of the people he met and with whom he
worked. His wife had lost her only brother in the war and because of her grief did
not want him to stay in the service.
He got a job with Washington State in the Employment Office in Tacoma,
and was promoted to manager of the Ephrata Office and worked until he was
promoted to manager of the Walla Walla office in 1961 (where Earthlight Books
is now located), retiring in 1978 with 32 years as a Washington State employee.
During all of that time, he helped a lot of people in Walla Walla including Bob
Rhay, the warden at Washington State Penitentiary at that time, and the Migrant
Farm Camp and so many others.
Following the death of his wife, he spent the last 27 years going to McDonald's
every day for coffee and a Sausage McMuffin. He told everyone "those kids need a
job!" That was Leonard in a nutshell, always thinking of others. He loved people and
kids, and there wasn't a stranger he didn't know. He loved his family and neighbors,
especially his neighbors Ben and Christy Tice; their sons, Sam and Evan; and
Cory, Heather, Claire, and Ellie. He was named "Papa Leonard" by them. He loved
everyone at the Adventist Health Medical Clinic, Dr. Hoehn, and all of the staff and
reception. He loved everyone at Macy's where he liked to shop and talk to everyone
including the sales clerks and customers. He met and became wonderful friends
with one of the clerks, Karen Martin, whom he loved very much. He loved to
make people smile and laugh. He was loved by all of his children's friends as well.
He was a Pony League coach in from 1969-1970. He loved sports and his children
learned to love sports as well. His two sons were avid golfers and he loved to keep
score and work the 18 holes. Afterwards, he loved to play Pitch and have some
drinks at the 19th Hole.
After his retirement, he and his wife traveled to California many times where his
three oldest children resided. He always had a wonderful time there. He visited his
daughter, MaryJean, In Yosemite where her husband was a park ranger. He was very
proud of all his children and loved them very much and always tried to help them.
He always impressed upon his children the value of education and had all his kids
reading the newspaper when they were growing up, as he loved to read everything
and learn as much as he could from them and then form his own educated opinion.
His family always said he should be president of a debate team, always making his
children think "outside the box". He was very proud of his son, Lennie, when he
went into the US Navy and later graduated from San Jose State College. He was
very proud of his daughter, Carol, having graduated from Central Washington State
University in Ellensburg and went on to be a teacher in the Bay Area for 25 years.
He was also very proud of MJ moving to Pullman and graduating from Washington
State University after Heather's father's death. His sons were managers as he was.
If his wife were still alive, they would have been married 70 years this year. He
was dedicated to her and missed her very much when she died. They always took
walks and rode their bikes in his retirement. The last two years of his life were spent
traveling to Bellevue to visit his brothers, sister, nieces and nephews and their families,
sharing all the wonderful memories with his daughter, MJ, and son, Lennie,
who after 38 years moved back to Walla Walla from California to spend time with
him. He will be missed so very much by his family and friends.
Leonard is survived by two daughters: MJ Tamplin of Walla Walla; Rosanne
Daniel and family; two sons: Lennie and his wife Stacy Pruss of Walla Walla; and
Terry Pruss and family; his sister, Evelyn Hamilton; two brothers: Jim Pruss and Ted
Pruss; his first grandchild Heather and husband Jason Randall; three great-grandchildren:
Brooke age 14, Chase age 10, and Logan age 5. He loved them all so very
much. In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Carol.
Leonard's family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone at Walla
Walla General Hospital, Regency at The Park, Walla Walla Community Hospice
and Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt for all the wonderful care of their dad.
Friends may write memories and sign the online guestbook