Leon M. Olszewski

Leon M. Olszewski, also known as Lee, was born at home on July 21, 1935, in East St. Louis, Illinois and he departed this life at his home on the Jack’s Fork River on July 5, 2024. He was the only son and youngest child of Leon and Mary nee Ryznek Olszewski.
 
He is survived by six children, Monica Sharp of Mountain View, Leon (Clarissa) Olszewski of Streamwood, IL, Julia Olszewski of Waterloo, IL, Anthony (Lynn) Olszewski of Palatine, IL, Suzanne (Walter) Chisum of St. Louis, MO, and Matthew (Hanna) Olszewski of Willow Springs; special friend Elizabeth Olszewski; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and special canine grandson Cody.
 
Lee was a first-generation American and was proud of his Polish heritage. He was also the first in his family to earn a Bachelor’s degree.  
 
Lee was a chemist by education and eventually worked as a manufacturer’s representative throughout the Midwest for scientific equipment. In the days before cruise control, satellite radio, and GPS, the long hours on the road in a car became tedious. So, he learned to fly a small single-engine plane which he used to travel between the cities where his customers were located.
 
Lee lived most of his life in Southern Illinois, but he moved to the Ozarks and Texas County in 1993 and has lived here ever since. One of his greatest joys happened to him here, participating in the birth of his youngest son, Matthew. Lee was proud of all of his children and enjoyed visits with them, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren.
 
Lee enjoyed hunting and fishing which usually meant there was venison in the freezer. He also enjoyed creating, mostly with wood, functional items, as well as decorative items. All you had to say was ‘It would be nice if …” and the next thing you knew, Lee had drawn up plans to build the item you wanted. He built numerous sets of kitchen cabinets for his houses, as well as his daughter’s house. All the walnut window casements and trim as well as the baseboards of his last house were created by Lee from walnut logs he harvested from his own land. He was always happiest to have a project to work on.
Lee also enjoyed painting and was an accomplished landscape painter in oils. Saturdays were spent watching Bob Ross on public television along with the other art, quilting, and cooking shows.
 
Lee was always a reader. Books were all over the house and he had an eclectic reading style. He was an ardent library user wherever he lived and he even served as President of the Mountain View Public Library Board.
 
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Mornings, Lee could be found exercising in the cardiac rehab center at St. Francis Hospital in Mountain View. He made many friends there including Sister Michael. Those sessions were usually followed by breakfast in the cafeteria where the ladies there knew his standing order.
 
Lee was predeceased by his parents; his sisters and their spouses; and his first wife Louise Rieber Kelley.  
 
Interment was July 9, in Houston Rural Cemetery under the direction of Yarber Mortuary, Mountain View, Missouri. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mercy St. Francis Auxiliary, the American Heart Association, or the American Cancer Society. Condolences may be expressed at www.yarbermortuary.com.
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