Grant Leljedal

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Grant Duane Leljedal, 68, of Freeburg, Illinois, born September 13, 1951, in Sayre, Pennsylvania, died late Friday, November 29, 2019 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Grant and Marie, his high-school sweetheart of 53 years, were blessed with the birth of their first daughter Helen on February 5th 1970. They married on June 13th, 1970 and moved from Sullivan County Pennsylvania to attend Penn State University, where Grant was a United States Air Force (USAF) ROTC cadet and active member of the Drill Team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in June 1973 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF. His career with the USAF took his young family to Mather & Castle Air Force Bases (AFB) in California, where he earned honors for the highest academic average in his class for Navigator Bombardier Training. In 1974, Grant and his family transferred to KI Sawyer AFB, Michigan where he and Marie were blessed with the births of Veronica, Joshuah, and Jason. Grant was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and later promoted to Captain, serving in the 644th Bomb Squadron, assigned to the 410th Bombardment Wing. He received the Eighth Air Force Blue Ribbon Award for his contributions towards the combat effectiveness of the Strategic Air Command during his service at KI Sawyer AFB. In his spare time, he earned his MBA from Northern Michigan University as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. In late 1980, Captain Leljedal was transferred to Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, where his fifth child Jonathan was born. Deferring a promotion from Captain to Major, Grant chose to retire from the USAF in 1985, and moved his family to Freeburg, Illinois, where he began work as a private consultant, continuing to support projects for the US Government until his retirement in 2015. Grant lived the remainder of his life in Freeburg where he was deeply committed to his family, community, fellow service-members, genealogy, and his church.

While Grant proudly served his country, it was Marie and his children who brought him the greatest sense of accomplishment. Home was where his heart built refuge, whether it was finishing the basement for his growing family, installing his own underground sprinkler system as his little “helpers” leaned on the shovels and inspected, making a custom yard-shed because he wanted his kids to have a partition for a playhouse, inconspicuously building a Barbie Doll house in the basement for weeks before it appeared beneath the Christmas tree, turning woodworking project ideas into furniture for his home, creating science fair projects, or excitedly sharing floor plans of the house that he bought in Freeburg for his family. Grant had a passion for creating things for his family, channeling his love from his heart through his hands and building a solid foundation for each of them in their home and lives. His influence on the many lives he touched will carry on through loving memories of him for generations to come.

Grant was preceded in death by his father, Charles Leljedal; and a brother-in-law, Richard Taylor.

Surviving are his wife of nearly 50 years, Marie, nee Calaman, Leljedal;
two daughters and three sons, Helen Leljedal (Larry) Dotson of Midland, MI,
Veronica (Justin) Hetler of Chicago, IL,
Joshuah (Laurie) Leljedal of Cumming, GA,
Jason (Carrie) Leljedal of New Baden, IL,
and Jonathan (Caryn) Leljedal of Arnold, MO;
seven grandchildren, Alexandra and Ethan Dotson; Pauloc and Katherine Hetler;
and Damien, Cecilia and Mary Lou Leljedal, with one more Baby Leljedal on the way;
his mother, Katherine, nee Pardoe, Leljedal of Towanda, PA;
a brother, Curtis (Theresa) Leljedal of Mehoopany, PA;
a sister, Carolyn Leljedal of New Albany, PA;
many nieces, many nephews, and a host of many friends.

Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Freeburg Food & Clothing Bank, and the National Kidney Foundation. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, December 6, 2019 at George Renner and Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of the Resurrection will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.

Burial: A procession will leave at 9:15 a.m., Monday, December 9, 2019 from George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, for a 10 a.m. burial with military honors at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.


17 Comments on Grant Leljedal

Bob and Terry Cebuhar said : Guest Report Jan 05, 2020 at 10:42 PM

Marie, We were so very saddened to hear of the passing of grant and offer both you and the family our deepest sympathy. We attend Mass at the Cathedral now and heard of it at Mass. You all are in our thoughts and prayers for strength knowing Grant is with God now.

  • smithton
  • Illinois
Greg Stephenson said : Guest Report Dec 10, 2019 at 9:38 PM

Grant and I worked together at NJVC for years. Grant was just remarkable to be on a team with and he always made me laugh! I am sad to learn today that he passed away. My sympathy and prayers to his family during this time.

  • Ste. Genevieve
  • MO
Libby (Wilcox) Hollenback said : Guest Report Dec 10, 2019 at 4:19 PM

I am so sorry for your loss. Keeping you and family in my prayers

  • Tucson
  • Arizona
Irene Huray Pequignot said : Guest Report Dec 10, 2019 at 2:42 AM

So sorry to hear of Grants passing. My thoughts and prayers are sent for you Marie and your family. It is so hard to let them go, but knowing they are at peace now may be some comfort.

  • Liden
  • Pa
Bob Zesinger said : Guest Report Dec 09, 2019 at 4:19 PM

Marie and family, We were sad to hear of Grant's passing. We met at K.I. Sawyer as crew members on the B-52. Grant was a true professional and took his very important job seriously. He performed in an outstanding manner while at the same time brought humor and realism to the crew and the squadron. You can all be proud of the job he performed and the example he set for all of us. Family was also a important aspect of his life. We will miss him, but will remember him always. Sincerely Bob and Carol Zesinger

  • VA
JANET GROH said : Guest Report Dec 06, 2019 at 5:06 AM

My sympathy to Marie and family

  • Florida
Tim Stacey said : Guest Report Dec 05, 2019 at 1:08 AM

I had the pleasure of working with Grant for nearly 15 years. He was an exceptional engineer with a great sense of humor. We lost touch with one another after his retirement which I regret. I often sought him out for counsel and technical advice in addition to sharing a story or laugh about our life experiences. He will be missed by all that knew him. My condolences to his family and friends, may he rest in peace

  • O'Fallon
  • IL
Rob Chigas said : Guest Report Dec 04, 2019 at 5:11 PM

So sorry for your loss. Grant was a true professional at work and a wonderful individual! he will be greatly missed by all!

  • Troy
  • IL
Jon Moser said : Guest Report Dec 04, 2019 at 2:05 PM

I am truly sorry for your loss. I always knew Grant to be the embodiment of integrity and kindness, and I consider it a privilege to have known him.

  • Columbia
  • IL
Ceara said : Guest Report Dec 04, 2019 at 8:11 AM

Thinking of you.

  • Champaign
  • Il
Craig R Stowell said : Guest Report Dec 04, 2019 at 3:30 AM

What a beautiful obituary. What a great man. Being an SP at KI I bet we walked the same asphalt. I am humbled after reading this. I dont believe I could be half the man he was. Peace to all of you. Smile for the good times, thats what matters most. My salute??

  • Sartell
  • Minnesota
Karin Webster said : Guest Report Dec 04, 2019 at 3:26 AM

Jason & Carrie; So sorry to hear of his passing. He is in good hands now & will forever be in your hearts!

  • Decatur
  • Il
David Fliehr said : Guest Report Dec 04, 2019 at 3:02 AM

I was at KI as a Crew Chief.. 61-1007 then 61-1039 USAF SAC 410th BW Heavy 8th Air Force... I'm sure your dad flew my aircraft from time to time... I was there as a dependent 1970-71 then active duty late 1974 to 1978...... Always loved the base and the outdoor life he must have enjoyed as well... Sorry to hear of his passing, those navs and bnavs had the smarts to control some tremendous power that our aircraft had loaded up with (on alert) that simply won the Cold War with the USSR.... He is indeed a hero that has passed....

  • Livermore
  • CA
Matt said : Guest Report Dec 03, 2019 at 10:11 PM

My thoughts and prayers to the family. Such a nice and genuine guy. Never a complaint . Marie: Forrest Park is with you

  • Collinsville
  • Illinois
Leslie Matheson said : Guest Report Dec 03, 2019 at 7:26 PM

Reading the obituary above I feel a great loss. What a wonderful father and soldier! He took care of us all. My sincere condolences to you that remain, and my greatest respect and congratulations to him for a life well lived.

  • Louisburg
  • NC
Tonia Brown said : Guest Report Dec 03, 2019 at 6:04 PM

On behalf of everyone at Fresenius Kidney Care, We send our deepest sympathy to the family of Grant Leljedal, It was an honor and privilege to know him and his wonderful wife. God bless all of your family.

  • O'Fallon
  • IL
Mary Beth (Calaman) Russell said : Guest Report Dec 03, 2019 at 6:03 PM

Our family's sincere condolences to Aunt Marie, Helen, Veronica, Joshua, Jason, and Jon, and all the Leljedal family over Uncle Grant's passing. Treasured memories come to mind of your family's summer visits to PA, he and Aunt Marie's beautiful way of interacting with one another and caring for one another, his fatherly manner, and the brilliant humor with which he always infused our time together. Our prayers are very much with you all as you grieve. May the Lord, His Sorrowful Mother, and the holy angels comfort you in your overwhelming loss. Love, Mary Beth, Todd, and the Russell family

  • Covington
  • LA

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