Stephen A. Leishman, Major, USAF (ret.), 77, passed away peacefully on December 18, 2018 at his home.
Steve was born in Washington, DC to Charles A. Leishman and Helen Louise Swarm. Steve grew up in Hyattsville, MD and was graduated from Northwestern High School in 1959. He attended the University of Maryland where he played in the marching band for five years and earned a BS in Business Administration in 1964. His later education included an MBA in Finance in 1968 from Inter-American University in PR and a MEd in Curriculum Development from Auburn University in 1978.
Steve received his commission into the Air Force through the ROTC program at the University of Maryland in 1964 whereupon he began a 21-year career which took him to nine bases throughout the world for permanent assignment. Steve completed navigator training in Waco, TX and Electronic Warfare Officer training in Sacramento, CA. For three years he served on B-52s at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. Following that assignment Steve flew 125 combat missions out of Takhli AB, Thailand in 1969-70 during the Vietnam conflict. He later served as an instructor at the Electronic Warfare Officer School in Sacramento, CA, then as a student and instructor at the Air Force Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, AL. He completed his military career returning to B-52s in Rome, NY for five winters. Steve retired with the aeronautical rating of Master Navigator. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for combat in Vietnam, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, and the AF Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
Steve retired from active duty in March 1985 to accept a position with The Boeing Company as Contractor Logistics Support Manager for the B-1B Flight Simulator Program initially in Cocoa Beach, FL and then in Huntsville, AL. With the installation of the last simulator, Steve began work on the International Space Station in three different areas. In the spring of 1994 Steve accepted a position in the structural test labs with the Boeing facility in Philadelphia. His work focused on testing components and the airframe of the V-22 Osprey. In early 2004 Steve transferred to the V-22 Flight Test program at Patuxent Naval Air Station, MD, as a flight test engineer assist in returning the V-22s to flight status. During his stay he made two six-month long winter trips to Halifax, NS for cold weather testing and three cruises aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp for sea trials. When that was done he retired in October 2005.
Steve loved history and genealogy. In early 1999 he became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and rose steadily through the chapter, state and national offices. In 2012 he was sworn in as the President General of the National Society of the Sons of the Revolution. He continued his service as an elected director on the SAR Foundation Board of Directors for six years. He has proven six ancestors who participated in the Revolutionary War and one who participated in the War of 1812.
Steve enjoyed recreational boating and especially his last boat, a 40 foot Mainship Trawler named ‘Reverie’. He was a 44 year life member of the United States Power Squadron. Steve held an FAA single-engine commercial pilot’s license but stopped flying when his son was born. He also held an FCC General Class Amateur Radio License, N3TMK and was studying for his Extra Class license. Steve was a life member of The American Legion, Post 18, in Claymont, DE; and a member of the VFW, Post 2907 in Bellefonte, DE. A life-long Episcopalian, Steve was an active member of St. David’s Episcopal Church, Brandywine Hundred, for many years. He was a member of various Masonic bodies including the Red Cross of Constantine.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving wife, Janet; his son, Stephen O’Neal, granddaughter, Madison; and grandson, David; from New Orleans, LA; his sister, Margaret (Peggy) Hughes (Larry) from Lincoln, DE and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held from 6-8pm, Sunday, January 13 at the McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike where a Masonic service will be held at 7pm (additional, overflow parking available in the rear parking lot of the Brandywine YMCA, 3 Mt. Lebanon Rd). A funeral service will be held at 11:30am, Monday, January 14 at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 2320 Grubb Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810 where another visitation will be held from 10-11:30. Interment with appropriate military honors will be at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear, DE. Donations in Steve’s memory may be made to St. David’s Episcopal Day School, or Boys’ State, American Legion Department of DE, PO Box 7005, Wilmington, DE 19803.