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Columbia Missourian

Bryan Leath Jr. loved woodworking, volunteering

By Madeline Kennedy
May 16, 2013 | 8:18 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Bryan Leath Jr. was a skilled woodworker, and he loved using his talent to make gifts for his friends and family.

“He made knives out of old cross-cut saws and files,” Richard Leath, Mr. Leath’s son, said. “He made his kids and grandkids hunting knives and steak knives with handmade wooden boxes to keep them in.”


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Mr. Leath also put his skills to use on larger projects, Richard Leath said. 

“In 1957, he built a house by himself, and in the 1980s, he helped me build my first house,” he said.

Bryan Leath Jr. of Columbia died Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas, where he had moved to be close to family. He was 89.

Mr. Leath was born on April 6, 1924, in Macon to Bryan Leath, Sr. and Fern Cox Leath.

He married Dortheda (Dottie) Simons, his high school sweetheart, on Dec. 25, 1942.

“When my dad asked my mom to go out on a date, she said, ‘If you’re gonna go out with me, you have to learn how to dance’,” Richard Leath said. “So he asked her to teach him.”

The couple continued dancing throughout their 68 years of marriage.

After graduating high school, Mr. Leath proudly served as an army supply sergeant in the Philippines during World War II, Richard Leath said.

He worked for General Telephone & Electronics Corporation  for 33 years in Columbia and various cities in Iowa. He retired in 1980.

Mr. Leath was a member of First Christian Church in Columbia. He was also a member of The Lions Club, a service club organization, for many years and served as president while living in Iowa, Richard Leath said.

He said Mr. Leath did a lot of fundraising for the club, working on various projects such as organizing golf tournaments, assisting with the club’s light bulb sales and aiding the club in its mission to provide corneal transplants to eradicate blindness.

After his retirement, Mr. Leath enjoyed visiting his family, Richard Leath said.

Bryan Leath is survived by his daughter, Barbara Leath of Grapevine, Texas; his son, Richard (Kristy) Leath of Fort Worth, Texas; his brother, Robert Leath of Troy, Ohio; his son-in-law, Ron Elliott of Vonore, Tenn.; his grandchildren Lori Jarvis, Eric Elliott, Chad Leath and Amber Leath; and seven great-grandchildren.

His wife, Dottie, two of his daughters, Cheryl Leath and Judy Elliott, and his brother, Raymond Leath, died earlier.

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at First Christian Church, 101 N. Tenth St. Services will be held at 1 p.m. at the church. Interment will be at 4 p.m. in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, 301 Rubey St., Macon.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cancer Research Center, 3501 Berrywood Drive.