Anchorage 16.0 °F
Fairbanks -1.0 °F
Juneau 27.0 °F
Richard Francis O'Leary, 81, died Aug. 5, 2007, at Alaska Regional Hospital after a brief illness.
Visitation will be 2-5 p.m. Saturday at Evergreen Memorial Chapel, 737 E St. Pallbearers will include his brother, James W. O'Leary, 303rd Bomb Group/427 Squadron, "Hells Angels" B-17 pilot in World War II; brother-in-law, Don deRegnier, 286 Assault Signal Co., D-Day Normandy, France, World War II; nephew, Richard W. O'Leary, corporal, 3rd Battallion 12th Marines, Quang Tri, Vietnam; best friend, Robert Beeler, aircraft carrier CVE65, Wake Island, Lauzon, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Purple Heart; brother-in-law, Jerry Watts, AOM 1st Class U.S. Navy, World War II; and son-in-law, Scott Ransom, Seward harbormaster. Additional assistants will include his grandsons, Joseph Richard VerSteeg, Jake VerSteeg and Jack Ransom. Burial will be in Indiana Cemetery in Attica, Iowa.
Mr. O'Leary was born March 22, 1926, in Newton, Iowa, and grew up in Des Moines during the end of the Great Depression.
Not yet a high school graduate, he volunteered to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II at the age of 17. Attaining the rank of sergeant, he served in the 465th Bombardment Group of the 780th Squadron. He flew 23 missions over central Europe as a B-24 aerial tail gunner. For his service, he was awarded the American Theatre Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal with five Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the Air Medal and the Silver Battle Star.
After separation from the Air Force, Richard completed high school and continued his education. He ultimately attained a degree in law from Denver University in Colorado.
He enjoyed a long career with the Traveler's Insurance Co., where he served as assistant manager for all of Iowa and a portion of western Illinois. He supervised 20 employees and managed the majority of the litigation in his district. After retirement he continued to work part time for Ameritrade Inc.
Richard moved to Alaska in 1989 to be near his two daughters and their families.
Mr. O'Leary was a member of the VFW. He enjoyed football; he had played halfback for the North High School football team in Des Moines. He also enjoyed travel, history and his family.
Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Georgene (Watts) O'Leary of Anchorage; daughters, Irene Catherine Ransom of Seward and Diane Frances O'Leary of Anchorage; granddaughters, Emily Ransom Golick and Jesicca O'Leary Earl, both of Anchorage; grandsons, Joseph Richard VerSteeg of Eagle River, Jake VerSteeg of Des Moines and Jack Ransom of Soldotna; great-grandsons, Roman and Dawson of Anchorage; and pet, Charlie Cat.
Tonight on Your Alaska Link