Earl Raymond "Fritz" Gleason, the son of Walter & Emma (Wendt) Gleason was born January 19, 1918 on a farm near Oriska, North Dakota, the ninth of 12 children. In 1920 the family moved to Currie, Minnesota where Walter had purchased a gas and auto repair business and where Earl attended grade and high school. During the depression he joined the Civilian Conservation Corp and worked on forestry projects in Washington State. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard and was called to active service with the U.S. Army in January, 1941. After training in Southern California he was stationed at Kodiak, Alaska (215th Coast Artillery) from September, 1941 through January 1944. He was then transferred to the European Theater and served in France with the military police & supply companies. Upon his return to the U.S. in October 1945 he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
On July 5, 1946 Earl married Mildred Irene Sykora of Currie at Zumbrota, Minnesota. To this marriage were born two daughters, Diane and Donna. About 1950 Earl moved his family to Windom, where he owned and operated a bowling alley & recreation parlor. In 1959 they moved to Rapid City, South Dakota where Earl worked as a journeyman millwright on missile sites and power plants throughout western South Dakota and surrounding states. In the mid 1960's he began a 16 year career with the auto industry in Detroit, spending the majority of this time as a millwright at Chrysler Corporation's Mound Road Engine Plant in Warren, retiring in 1981. Earl & Mildred continued making their home in the Detroit area until 2001 when they moved to Bradenton, Florida.
On October 12, 2006 Earl passed away at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton. He is survived by Mildred, his wife of 60 years, daughter Diane & son-in-law David Hammond of Littleton, Colorado, daughter Donna Spears of Bradenton, Florida, granddaughter Bobbie LeBlanc & great-grandsons Jeffrey & Justin LeBlanc of Utica, Michigan, sister Violet Hudson of Mankato, Minnesota, brother Kenneth of Currie, and special friend of many years Robert Hofstadter & his wife Dorothea of Winchester, Massachusetts. He was preceded in death by his parents and nine of his siblings.
A memorial service was held October 16th, 2006 at the Westminster Communities Chapel in Bradenton. The remains will be interred at Bay Pines National Cemetery, St. Petersburg, Florida.
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