Leo George Haw, 83, beloved husband, father, chief, grandfather, great grandfather, and Unc, passed away peacefully at his home on February 26, 2019, surrounded by family. A Rosary will be held Friday, March 8, 2019 at 7:00 PM followed by a mass on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 9:30 AM at St. Francis De Sales Cathedral in Baker City, Oregon. After the Mass, Leo’s burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery followed by a reception at the Cathedral.
Leo was born October 3rd, 1935 in Baker to Marie Molnar Fuzi Haw and Leo Horace Haw. He lived in Huntington and Baker, attending Churchill Elementary School and St. Francis Academy. Leo was the youngest of 10 siblings and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and playing football in his early years.
At the age of seventeen, Leo joined the United States Navy and began his Navy career attending boot camp in San Diego, California.
Leo served his country for 24 years, retiring as Hospital Corpsman Senior Chief in 1976. During his naval career, Leo earned the Bronze Star Medal for his acts of heroism in Long Phu, Vietnam, and many other medals and ribbons.
Leo served in Hospital Corpsman School in San Diego; U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, CA; Air Corps Station in El Toro, CA; Naval Sea Bee Base, Port Hueneme, CA; Naval Optometric Fabrication School, Bethesda, MD; Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA; Advanced Medical Training, San Diego, CA; USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43); USS PURDY (DD 734); Long Phu, Vietnam; and Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, CA.
While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Leo served as the personal corpsman for President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat Nixon at their home in San Clemente, California. In addition, when the Vietnamese fled Vietnam in 1975, Leo spearheaded the medical care of thousands of Vietnamese refugees on Camp Pendleton. As his tour at Camp Pendleton was nearing the end, Leo was personally asked to serve as the top corpsman at the White House. After much consideration, Leo decided to retire from the U.S. Navy.
After retiring in 1976, Leo and his family moved to Baker, Oregon. A pillar in his community, Leo founded Eagle Optical and was a co-founder of the North Eastern Oregon Medical Science Center a couple of years later. Leo owned and operated Eagle Optical for approximately fifteen years and was a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and St. Francis De Sales Cathedral.
Leo is survived by his wife Tonna Portera Haw; sister, Mary Peterman; children Michael (Gail) Haw, John Haw, Patricia (Kevin) Vaive, Barbara (Tim) Oliver, George (Lisa) Haw and Scott Portera, fourteen grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Joe, Bill, John, and Mike Fuzi; sisters Marguerite (Fuzi) Sherman, Helen (Fuzi) May Jensen, Ann (Fuzi) Reagan and Elizabeth (Fuzi) Todhunter Thomas.
The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to Art and Catalina Corona, Scott and Kerry Sherman, David and Kathy Sherman, Scott and Shelly Shively, and John Fuzi for the unwavering support of Leo, Tonna, and their children. In addition, the family is forever grateful for the support of their extended family and church family. Lastly, the family extends a warm thank you to the Heart ‘n Home Hospice team for the compassionate care of their husband and dad.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Fleet Reserve Association, and the American Cancer Society through Coles Tribute Center at 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
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