George was surrounded by his loving family when he entered into rest on April 24, 2015 The oldest of four children; he was born in Wausau, Wisconsin on September 10, 1936. George grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago, IL where he graduated from Gordon Tech Catholic High School. Shortly after high school George joined the Navy and spent his career in the Naval Air with various P-3 Patrol Squadrons. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and retired after 24 years of service in 1978 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer.
While stationed at the Alameda Naval Air station he met the love of his life, Cathaleen Davoren, of San Leandro. They first met at the Fireside Lounge in Alameda and were married in 1964 at St. Leander’s Catholic Church in San Leandro CA. George and Cathaleen settled in Pleasanton CA. where they lived for 34 years and raised their three children. Last year George and Cathaleen celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with their family and friends. After retiring from the Navy, George became a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service in Pleasanton where he worked till 2003. Shortly after retiring they moved to the Del Web retirement community in Lincoln, Ca. While in retirement George and Cathaleen enjoyed traveling the world together. He was also an avid golfer and played on a Senior League men’s softball team. He was a proud volunteer with the Lincoln Police Department’s COP unit. To be closer to family he and his wife moved to Manteca in 2011. George was a huge sports fan and loved his Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders and whatever sporting events his eight grandchildren would play.
George was a devout Catholic and active in his faith life with the Catholic parishes wherever he and his family lived. George had 50 years of service with the Knights of Columbus. He was the Past Grand Knight with the St. Augustine’s Knights of Columbus Council in Pleasanton. He was also an active Knight with the St. Anthony’s Council and 4th Degree Assembly in Manteca.
As a proud Navy Veteran George was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Manteca Post 6311, and a member of the American Legion. He was the life of the party as he had a zest for life. He loved to laugh and spend time with family and friends. When he was well he was always quick to lend a helping hand as he spent a lot time volunteering. His greatest love was spending time with his beautiful wife of 51 years, Cathaleen. George had a warm smile and infectious laugh. His passing is a huge loss to all who knew him, and were lucky enough to call him family or friend.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Cathaleen, his children Colleen (Dan) Hanley and their children Ryan and Danielle of Livermore, Dan (Elizabeth) Leja and their children Andrew, Zachary, Kelsey, Grace and Simon of Manteca and his youngest daughter, Maureen Hickey, and her son Brendan of Dublin, CA. He is also survived by his siblings Connie Osika, IL, Terry Leja, IL and Brother Norbert Leja, Benicia, CA. He is preceded in death by his parents Carl and Anna Leja.
P.L. Fry is honored to be serving the Leja family. On Thursday, April 30th at 1:00 p.m. there will be a visitation open to the public at P.L. Fry & Son Chapel 290 N. Union Rd. Manteca, followed by a rosary service at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, May 1st at 1:00 p.m. there will be a Catholic funeral Mass held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 505 E. North St., Manteca.
Donations in George’s memory can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org . An online guest book is available for condolences at www.plfryandson.com (search obituaries)
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Wednesday, April 29, 2015