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Don Leber (1930-2020)

Don Leber, 89, passed away August 10, 2020 in Vacaville, California. He was born October 28, 1930 in East Saint Louis, Illinois.

After graduating high school from Belleville, IL at the age of 16, he enlisted in the US Navy at 17. Don volunteered for submarine service and was sent to basic submarine training in Connecticut. The majority of his time was spent on submarines in the Pacific Fleet including the Korean War. Don was extremely proud of his service to our country.

Following discharge from the Navy he lived in Phoenix, AZ and transferred to Arizona State University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955.  After a number of years he decided he wished to work with young people and began his educational career in Prescott, AZ. While in Prescott, he was given the opportunity to organize an educational program for juveniles at the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix. This program eventually developed to include adults. In 1960 he was awarded a MA from ASU.

In 1963, President Kennedy signed Public Law 88-164, which was partly to “ establish the first university-based entities focusing on individual developmental disabilities.” Leaving Arizona, Don enrolled in the University of Washington, Seattle, as a teaching assistant at the pilot school for neurologically handicapped children, now called the Center for Human Development and Disability.

After leaving the University of Washington, Don came to California, eventually spending 16 years with the Colusa County Superintendent of Schools as Director of Special Services. His final educational assignment was teaching math in Fairfield, CA.

He is survived by his loving wife Karen, children Ann Randleas, Julie Leber, Jason (Myra) Leber and Jeffrey Leber, stepsons Greg (Kathy) Elmore and Brian (Angela) Elmore, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He will be interred at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon at a later date.

It was his request that memorials for remembrances be sent to the Shriners Hospital, the Cancer Society or the Alzheimer’s Association.

08/19/2020 • WPR #2020-1008

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