Leonard Leroy Baylor
Leonard, who died on September 14, 2021, was born in Blackwell, Oklahoma, on July 5, 1931, to Hattie and Clyde Baylor. They divorced when he was less than a year old. Then his mother took a job in the household for Frank Garnet, a farmer who had lost his wife and had a 13-year-old son. Len loved the farm. He had a dog and a pony that he later rode to Low Center School. He learned to fish and fall. He caught minks, silver muskrats, rabbits and other animals and sold the pelts at the local pet food store in Braman, Oklahoma. He also delivered the newspaper to a neighbor and earned 25 cents a week. This helped him to buy his books and school clothes. His mother and Frank both taught him a good work ethic. Walter, Frank’s son, was like an older brother. It was special to do things with Walter. Walter took him to Sunday school and he accepted Christ as his Savior at the United Methodist Church in Braman, Oklahoma. When he was 14 years old, his mother bought a house in Braman for tax with the money she had earned from the cattle Frank had paid her with. He went to high school in Braman and wrote basketball.
At the age of 17 he had graduated from high school, and a friend came over and asked him if he wanted to work with him. He did, but when he got to Powell Plumbing in Blackwell, Oklahoma and asked CA Powell for a job, CA said, “No. I don’t have a job for you unless you want to dig trenches.” So he dug trenches for two years, then they had him survey his first house.In the evening he had enrolled in the International Correspondence Plumbing course, which he had found in a magazine, and he was studying hard for his bachelor’s degree, which he earned.
On August 22, 1953, he married Elsie Hamilton of Arkansas City, Kansas, whom he had met while roller skating in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
In 1954, he was drafted into the United States Army and spent his basic training at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas. From there he attended Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and Signal School. Elsie followed him and their son was born there. Then he was assigned to the “Far East” where we thought of Korea during the Korean conflict, but it turned out to be Hawaii. There he spent a lot of time with 35 others in an underground tunnel, sending and receiving messages. He was fired in 1956 and went to work for the town of Blackwell, at their power plant, where he began studying ‘steam’. Our girl was born there in 1957.
In 1959 he took a job in southwestern Oklahoma at Altus Air Base. Then an offer came to go to Alaska and do the plumbing and heating for a new church and Christian center built by the American Baptist Home Mission Society in Cordova.
During their days off, the men enjoyed hunting and fishing. In 2019, 53 years later, we were able to visit again!
After the job was done, he worked for PNA (Pacific Northern Airlines) and we took advantage of the ‘available space’.
In 1966, he applied to Boeing in Renton, Washington, and they moved us to Seattle. Remember in 1969 when they had the big layoff and asked that the last one in Seattle “turn off the lights?” He was fired, then rehired and fired again. He then worked for a year at Ballard Hospital. He had applied to the Port of Seattle and was hired as a plumber and steam engineer at SeaTac airport. In 1995 he retired.
In 1980 we were on our Motto Guzzi motorcycle, looking across the country and finding the Methow Valley. Mount St. Helens had just exploded and we really wanted to see Yakima, but the ash was too thick and the road was closed, so we bought this piece of land on the Methow River. Len loved it! Sitting on the patio, watching the doe with her two fawns, and the turkeys and quails!
From 2004 to 2018, we volunteered at Wycliffe Bible Translator’s Mexico Center, Catalina, Arizona.
Len was preceded in death by his mother, father and son Barney Owen. He is survived by his wife Elsie, home, daughter Marilyn Baylor, grandson Miles Milliken, jolly Carlton.
A memorial is being planned after we hear from his colleagues on the west side. Donations can be made to Care Net or to a charity of your choice.