Leroy O. Hensley, 96, of Rantoul died at 12:55 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, at Country Health Nursing Home, Gifford.
Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Baier Family Funeral Services, 406 E. Pells St., Paxton, with Masonic rites at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Maplewood Cemetery, Rantoul, with military honors by Rantoul American Legion Post 287.
Mr. Hensley was born Sept. 10, 1922, at home in Westville, the third child to Olin Vern and Hazel Cravens Hensley. While in high school, he met Mary Wargo and it was love at first sight for both of them. They were married Aug. 14, 1943. She preceded him in death.
He is survived by two daughters, Linette Albers of Rantoul and Deborah Hensley of La Porte, Ind.; a grandson, Todd (Angie) Albers of St. Joseph; sisters-in-law, Ann Knach of Hoffman Estates and Margaret Cornwell of Georgetown; and nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; two sons-in-law, Duane Albers and Faustino Hernandez; sister, Winifred Mae; and a brother, Harmon Oliver.
Mr. Hensley attended first grade in Westville, and his parents sold the family home and bought land east of Westville. He then attended a one-room school (Jenkins) and often bragged that he was never worse than second in his class for six years. There were only two in his class.
He attended Westville High School. He played in the orchestra and band for four years and was drum major his senior year. He was also in the chorus, plays, debating team and was chosen for the school honor society (Owls) his junior and senior years.
He attended Danville Business School for four months and was then employed in the Vermilion County Highway Department for one year.
He was then hired by the Army Air Forces at Chanute Air Force Base. In November 1942, he entered the active air force and after basic and technical training was assigned to Santa Ana Army Air Base. He returned home in 1943, and while on leave he married his wifel
While there, he worked as a supervisory administrative inspector and during his last year instituted and supervised the creation of the base archives, which was to select historical documents from base organizations to be retained as a record and history of the squadrons, groups, headquarters, training and other activities in preparation of the inactivation of the installation.
He then transferred to Camp Pinedale, Calif., as part of a cadre being formed to go into the South Pacific. Camp Pinedale was a former detention camp for Japanese families interned by the United States after the Pearl Harbor attack. While there, the war with Japan ended and he was transferred to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, to assist in organizing and operating a separation center for personnel being discharged. He was discharged in November 1945.
He then returned to employment at Chanute Air Force Base. After five years at Chanute, he transferred to Parks Air Force Base in Pleasanton, Calif., to assist in the organization of logistics activities. After five years, he returned to Chanute as the M&S Group material officer.
He received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his management of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s cost-reduction program. Chanute had the best and most productive program of installations of similar size. He received another Air Force Commendation Medal for his accomplishments as chief, Logistic Division, Resource Management Group. He retired as chief, Plans and Programs Division, in 1980.
Mr. Hensley was active in Rantoul functions. He was a member of the committee that wrote the first village zoning ordinance and served on the zoning appeals board several years, most of them as chairman.
He was past master of the local Masonic Lodge, served as governor of the Rantoul Moose Lodge, was district vice president and a member of the state board for 12 years, where he served as state membership chair and attained the Honorary Pilgrim Degree, which is the highest degree in the Moose.
He was president of the East Central Illinois National Active and Retired Federal Employees for many years. He served on the state board for 11 years as district vice president, second vice president and state membership chairman. He was also a member of the Rantoul American Legion Post 287, was an AAU swimming official from 1953-55 and officiated Pan-American tryouts at Mare Island, Calif., from 1954-55.
Mr. Hensley’s biggest pride was his family.
Memorials may be made to an organization of the donor’s choice. Condolences may be offered at www.baierfuneralservices.com.