Obituary of Leonard Robert Missavage
LEONARD “LEE” MISSAVAGE DECEMBER 6, 1935 – JANUARY 26, 2023
Leonard (Lee) Missavage, beloved by family and friends, passed peacefully at home on January 26, 2023.
A native of Royalton, Illinois, Lee was born December 6, 1935 and christened Leonard Robert Missavage. He often reminisced with friends about his early childhood, and when asked how his family had survived the Great Depression era in the United States, he would describe his upbringing. His parents, Joseph Sr. and Mary Ann Missavage, had been devoutly religious people with a deeply held belief in service to others. Lee would explain how the whole community helped each other with fiscal support, kindness, and prayer. He added that as soon as the Depression was passing, there came the day after his sixth birthday, which marked Pearl Harbor Day and the entrance of the United States into the World War II. As the youngest of his family’s generation, Lee was proceeded by five siblings, Joseph Missavage Jr, Charles Missavage, Dorothy Missavage, Eugene Missavage, and Richard Missavage. During his wartime childhood, Lee became the young observer. He recalled family members serving both at home as Royalton community volunteers and council members, as well as active-duty service members for the duration of World War II. These solid mid-western roots, instilled in Lee a personal ethic of work, fair play, service to country and community, and – above all - an appreciation for the dignity of every person.
Lee attended Southern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English with a Biology minor in 1957. He worked teaching secondary school English from 1957 to 1965, a time that was divided by service in the U. S. Army at Ft Lewis, in Spokane, Washington from 1960- 1961 with Reserve commitment for five more years. In 1966 he returned to SIU and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Media and Libraries. Between 1969 and 1972, Lee wrote his dissertation (A Review of Selected Characteristics of Reviews and Indexes of Audiovisual Materials) for the PhD program in Library Science and Education at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He worked as an Education Media Specialist until 1973, when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There he held an assistant professor position in the College of Education Graduate School at Georgia State University. During this time, Lee continued pursuing his advanced degree and was finally awarded his Doctorate from FSU in 1977.
In 1982 a recessed U.S. economy and frozen job market afforded Lee the opportunity to move from Atlanta back home to Royalton, where he was able to connect to his beloved mother, Mary Ann, and sister, Dorothy. He often looked back on that time as a brief but rare gift. 1983 brought career advancement for Lee, who became Information Systems Librarian at the Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.
In 1987 Lee moved from Arkansas to Brevard County, Florida where he worked at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) Library at Patrick Air Force Base, as Library Director, a position he held until his retirement. His work at DEOMI merged his intellectual studies as well as his professional and personal values, as he helped prepare U.S. military service members for their international assignments equipped with cultural literacy designed for optimum job performance in their designated countries.
Among his loved ones, Lee was known for his wry sense of humor, adventure, and tolerance. He served as an officer and member of the Indialantic Rotary Club from 1996 to 2000. For several years he edited the local chapter’s newsletter. He held high regard for the organization’s worldwide commitment to humanitarian work. Mr. Missavage was a lifelong Democrat, and supported liberal causes for human rights serving both his country and his community.
The Florida part of Lee’s life journey brought him beloved friendships and ample opportunity to relax in the warmth of the Florida sun while walking on the coastal Brevard beaches. Friends remember how well dressed and debonair Lee was at all times. They also recall attending Lee’s elegant parties. He attended opera and orchestra concerts in Brevard County, Orlando, and Winter Park. His enjoyment of music included his appreciation for the progressive rock band, Pink Floyd. Lee’s love of art and literature were expressed in his home environment, which was beautifully decorated in shades of blue, his favorite color; adorned with his large collection of sculpted camels, and an even larger collection of books. He continued to be a scholarly reader throughout his life.
Lee always stayed connected to family, and remained particularly close to his only sister, the late Dorothy Missavage. He is survived by long-time caregiver and best friend, Anthony Scaramouche, his loving niece, Jane Mitchell, his sister-in-law Marie (Eugene), as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and an extensive family of devoted friends.
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