Leon McCorkle, Class of 1932
17, 1914 - February 2, 2011) Memorial Service June 25, 2011
acquainted with Leon when I dropped him an email at classmates.com.
Leon replied immediately with a registration to www.kewpie.net
on February 14, 2001. He was most interested in knowing if I was
related to Gordon Blackmore. I replied with a yes, as Gordon was
my dad, Ben Blackmore's, first cousin. As it turns out Gordon who
graduated in 1934, became one of Leon's best friends. After having
only been acquainted while at Hickman, they started their life-long friendship
as roommates at the University of Missouri.
passed away, but my friendship with Leon goes on. I have talked to
him and his wife, Celia, on the phone a few times at his home in Greensboro,
North Carolina and we email. Leon also sent me his autobiography
and I have included the portion that covered his four years, as he remembered
some 50 some years later, of his life in Columbia and at Hickman High School.
January 29, 2010 On December 23, 2009
visited Leon & Celia at their home in Greensboro, NC. What a pleasure
to meet a great '32 Kewpie living large at 95 years young.Pictures
20, 2011 I received an email from Mac's daughter, Cindi, about Mac's 'Memorial
Service.' It was an honor to have meet this great Kewpie and what a pleasure
it was to have a short visit with him and his wife, Celia in December of
2009. During the time Mac wrote his autobiography, "Mac's Facs" his daughter
ask him to write his obituary which can be seen below. What a great life,
what a great "Kewpie"!
ol' Kewpie buddy!
Below Taken From:
autobiography, "Mac's Facs."
Mother and Dad decided to move the family to Columbia so Neola could enter
the University of Missouri. Elizabeth would enter Hickman High School
in her senior year. I would enter Jefferson Junior High School in
the eighth grade. The Clifton home was sold. Dad would continue
with his business, living in Clifton during the week and joining use on
the weekends and holidays.
Mother and Dad were determined each of us would have a college degree no
matter the sacrifices required to help us achieve that goal. John
had attended the University three semesters in 1921-1922, bud did not care
Columbia was (is) a center of higher education with the University of Missouri,
Stephens College, Christian College (later named Columbia College), and
Hall’s Business School. Stephens and Christian were for women.
The city’s population, not including college and business school enrollment,
was about 14,000.
We moved to Columbia on October fifth. Elizabeth and I were entering
terms that had begun early in September. Each of us had a difficult
period of adjustment—Neola from the small Central College environment,
Elizabeth in her senior year, and me in my eighth grade year adjusting
from a small village and school to Columbia and much larger schools.
If I remember correctly, Neola transferred to Warrensburg State Teachers
College with the spring semester in 1928, where she was graduated in 1931.
In the mid-1940’s, Neola received her Masters in Education from Columbia
University. She earned the credits attending summer school.
Moving from a village of 250 to 300 people and an eighth grade class of
eight or ten students to Columbia and Jefferson Junior High was a traumatic
experience. (Lee, does that remind you of anything in your educational
experiences? I reckon it will.)
The overalls I wore to school in Clifton would not suffice in Columbia.
Mother, not knowing how I should be dressed for school, had a pair of “plus
fours” tailored for me of handsome wool material—a major error. My
peers took one look and decided I was from a wealthy family and probably
a sissy—and that was a fighting word! It did not require more than
a day or two for me to get out of those knickers.
My scholastic standings in junior high and in high school were mediocre,
if that good. I never did get adjusted as I should have been or certainly
would have liked to be. My athletic abilities were on a par with
my grades. I was 6 feet tall and very skinny. I had played
baseball and basketball but knew absolutely nothing about football, and
that was the main game in Columbia, especially in the fall. I had
never seen a football game anywhere; perhaps I had seen a picture of one.
We had moved to one of the better residential sections. There were
fellows my age in the neighborhood. One of them, Jack Roth, took
me with him one day soon after we arrived to play touch football with a
bunch of guys. When I was assigned a position to play, I had no idea
what was expected of me and was too proud, I guess, to admit it.
After I observed for some time I got back in the game and managed to not
embarrass myself too much. As a result of our residential location,
I was part of a group of my peers from the well-thought-of families in
the city. I guess personality must have accomplished that for me.
I certainly was not a good-looking teenager.
I skipped high school classes a few times in the afternoon to go to the
golf course. The school Principal, Miss Sadie Steen, would telephone
my mother, who of course knew of no reason for my absence. We had
a good friend in Columbia from Clifton, Dillon Buck. Mother knew
how to reach him by phone, and he would go to the golf course and “apprehend
me.” My first golf club was a No. 3, then called a “midiron.”
I had earned the money to buy it caddying. A faculty member, when
autographing my yearbook, included the notation. “To the future Bobby
Jones,” a reference to the legendary golfer of that time.
During my junior and senior years at Hickman High, I had a steady girl
friend, Mildred Cope. My principal source of spending money in the
school year was from waiting tables at the Tiger Hotel. Dillon Buck
was working there to help pay his college expenses, and he got me the part-time
work. When the hotel had large groups for dinner, often a banquet,
extra waiters would be called in to supplement the regular waiters.
The extras were paid 25 cents an hour. Usually setting up tables
and serving took three or four hours. Rarely, and only at Missouri
University’s Homecoming time, some kind soul would give us a nice tip.
I never heard of one over $5 and do not remember ever receiving one that
large. I do not recall how often I was called to work during a month—maybe
two or three times—always to work in the late afternoon and evening.
After a large banquet and/or dance in the ballroom, the parquet floor would
be a mess, including chewing gum. Mr. Sparks, the man in charge of
food service, would ask for a volunteer to wash and wax the floor.
I always volunteered for the job, which took about twelve hours, so I could
earn $3. After washing the floor and scraping off the chewing gum,
the section I had started on would be dry enough to apply the wax and to
polish it to an acceptable appearance. All the work was done on hands
and knees. No mopping or waxing equipment was supplied. After
Sparks saw the quality of my work once, I was always offered the work whenever
I was needed.
We usually had the tables and everything prepared for the diners well before
they would arrive. Then the crap shooting would begin on the carpet
while we waited. Our “bets” on a roll of the dice were modest—hardly
ever more than a quarter. Sometimes I would win a dollar or two.
I could never lose that much because I would not have it. It seemed
I could always win when Mr. Sparks was betting against my roll of the dice
or when he was rolling the dice. I recall a time when Mother and
Dad were on an auto trip to the San Antonio Valley in the winter of 1930,
when I won enough to buy myself a sweater. There were no adverse
comments I can recall about my shooting craps.
In the summer of 1929, I worked at the Smith Pontiac Garage, mostly as
a janitor and errand boy. A stripped-down Model T Ford was almost
universally called “fliver.” I have a framed photo of me in the fliver
parked by our house on Roesmary Lane in Columbia.
There was a large gasoline tank on the back of the body. I had never
been able to afford more than a few gallons in the tank at one time.
To prepare for a trip to the Ozarks, I filled the tank to find the seam
in the middle was open! The tank had to be drained, cleaned so it
was safe to solder or weld the seam closed, then remounted on the racer.
As you can see in the photo, there was no top on the body. Somewhere
south of Jefferson City, as I was tooling along, I was suddenly showered
with small pieces of stone. I stopped the car as quickly as I could
and got under it for protection. I had driven into a blasting zone
where road work was being done.
The cylinder head and valve heads on that engine must have been the cleanest
in the country. Frequently I would remove the engine head and clean
off the carbon deposits. That Model T racer was my first car.
I paid for it and maintained it with money I earned. Once winter
came I could not afford to buy gasoline and sold the car to a high school
student, Worth Debord, who installed overhead valves and made some other
improvements I never could have afforded. I used to see the racer
parked at the school—not a happy sight for me.
The summer of 1930, Neola and Elizabeth worked as waitresses in a hotel
on Cape Cod. Dillon Buck had arranged the work for them, took them
there in his Model A Ford, and brought them home at the end of the summer.
Mother and I spent the summer in Clifton with Dad. That was the year
he sold the elevator. We lived with Binda McCulley in her home.
She had been a neighbor before our move to Columbia.
That summer a couple of friends and I stole a watermelon from a farmer’s
patch in the country west of Clifton. That evening a group of us
youngsters were eating watermelon in the village park on the main street
about 100 to 150 feet from the railroad crossing. I had eaten a piece
of melon to the rind when Tom O’Connor drove by in his Model T touring
car. His old-maid girl friend was in the front seat with him.
In the back seat was his friend, Ghoul Ryherd. Just after they had
passed where we were sitting, I arose and threw the rind toward the car,
not thinking (as I recall) it would go that far. (Perhaps deep down
I did intend to hit his car.) Well the rind reached the side of the
face of Tom’s girl friend, and all h--- broke loose! Tom slammed
on the brakes, jumped out of the car, and rushed over, demanding to know
who threw the rind.
Tom was a red-headed “shanty” Irishman and a hot-tempered one. He
knew me better than he knew any of the others with me. I told him
he could not expect me to tell on my friends. Tom insisted for a
while until he became convinced I would not tell. He went to Mr.
Dameron, the town Marshal’s home, got him out of bed (it was about 9:30),
and brought him to the park to make one of us confess. No one would
talk. Tom was still steaming and let us know he would go to Huntsville,
the county seat, the next morning to get the sheriff to wring the truth
from us. The next morning at breakfast I told Dad what had happened.
When Dad went to the elevator Tom, who thought Dad was the greatest, was
waiting for him. Dad convinced Tom to let it drop. Thankfully
he agreed, and that was the end of the story.
I have mentioned the name Ghoul Ryherd. (My Editor has questioned
my spelling of “Ghoul;” perhaps I am in error. My spelling is phonetic
as I recall the pronunciation.) Ghoul was an old bachelor who regularly
spent time in the elevator office loafing near the coal stove in the winter
chewing tobacco. Periodically he would open the stove door to spit
in the fire. When he spoke, which was frequently, it seemed that
with every third word he would inject “them sonsabitches.” As a youngster
in my early years, that made quite an impression. His friend, Tom
O’Connor, lived in the village and had a small farm south of the village.
Tom was known to be the village’s and surrounding area’s champion in the
fabrication of “tall” tales. Whatever Tom had or did was the best.
He farmed with mules that would out-pull and out-work any mules known anywhere.
His crops produced yields that were superior to all others in the area.
Tom’s stories were tolerated because they were always about him, his possessions
and activities, and never about other people. He and Ghoul were a
pair of the village’s well known “characters.”
In the summer of 1931, my friends, Tom and George Porter (the latter was
a classmate in high school), helped me get a job at the Boone County National
Bank in Columbia. I worked in the afternoon only. My job was
to carry the “deadwood” the name given to checks with insufficient funds,
back to the merchants who had accepted them and collect cash to cover the
amount of the check. Most days there were several checks to return.
I do not recall what I was paid for that work. Some merchants, after
accepting two or three checks with insufficient funds from the same person,
would display one of the checks face-side-up under the glass of the counter
near the location of the cash register hoping, I guess, to embarrass the
writer by advertising his/her malfeasance. In the depression years
there were many checks given with insufficient funds.
Social activities were on weekends only. My circle of friends would
get together at one of the girl’s homes. We would play records, maybe
dance (that’s where I did my first two-step), play cards. There was
very little money for entertainment. We attended high school basketball
and football games. There would be one or two “big” dances during
the year, held in the ballroom or the school gymnasium with an amateur
In my junior and senior years I would organize dances at the Harris Café,
one of the nicer restaurants. The café had a balcony at the
back large enough for a four-or-five-piece band and ten or twelve couples
at tables with sufficient space to dance. I had tickets printed without
dates (I would write that in when the ticket was sold). I am not
sure of the price of the tickets; I think it may have been 1 dollar, but
no more. If I sold enough tickets to satisfy the band guys, we would
have a dance. If not, I would refund the money to the ticket buyers
and try again for another date. Maybe I made a dollar or two when
we had a dance, maybe nothing, but it gave me something to do. If
I did make a buck or two, it was equivalent to a few hours at the hotel
and a heck of a lot more fun.
The years in Columbia, 1927-1932, were not happy ones for me. I had
made a poor adjustment to the school and that carried on through high school.
I was tall and skinny, had a bad complexion, and was not good at sports.
My grades were C’s. The group of kids I ran around with were way
ahead of me in most categories. I wondered why I was as well accepted
by them as I was all those years in Columbia. Many years later I
recalled what a superior job Mother had done in helping me select the fellows
to be my friends, how she very tactfully and subtlety (so I did not realize
it) steered me away from the fellows she thought were not a good influence
on me. Her judgement was excellent. One of the greatest influences
on me to stop doing some pranks, like skipping school, was peer pressure.
I wanted the respect of my peers.
I attended my graduating class’s fortieth reunion. In the subsequent
write-up of those activities, a copy of which I have in my files, I was
recognized as follow: “Leon McCorkle traveled 6,000 miles from Brazil
to be there. He was our choice as the one who had changed most, with
his engaging manners and captivating mustache.” OH! How I wish
Mother and Dad could see that acknowledgement by my peers from Hickman
High, especially Mother because she had the major responsibility for me
while we were in Columbia.
17, 1914 in Howard County, Leon Marshall McCorkle, was born to, Leonidos
(Lon) McCorkle and Annie May Walton. Leon was married to Mary Catherine
Carrington from July 2, 1939 until her death September 9, 1974. Leon
and Catherine had five children; Leon Marshall (Lee) Jr, William
Carrington, Lucinda Ann (Cindi), Sam Batton and Michael Walton.
Celia Azevedo da Silva were married July 10, 1975. They now reside
in Greensboro, North Carolina and still have a home in Brazil.
of 1941, Leon entered the service as a 2nd Lieutenant and was separated
from active duty in September of 1965 as Lt. Colonel Ordnance Dept., Army
of The United States. Leon spent 12 years in Brazil with Brazilian
C. M. Ralston Purina Company and retired as Brazilian Country Manager,
Central Soya, Inc., April 30, 1978.
another Kewpie I am proud to have had the opportunity to become accquainted
with and I hope to visit him in Greensboro next year. As he said,
"I hope you do visit us here I am sure we could have much conversation
At the bottom
of Mac's stationery, it reads.....
Emerson said, "a friend may well be reckoned Nature's Masterpiece"
Celia's home in Greensboro, NC
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MarionStar.com Leon Marshall
NC: Leon Marshall "Mac" McCorkle, 96, Marion County businessman and civic
leader from 1948 through 1964, died February 2, 2011, suddenly and unexpectedly
resident of Waldo and later Marion, Mac was principal owner of country
grain and feed businesses in Marion and adjacent counties and served as
an original member of the Marion General Hospital Board of Governors, as
a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners, as vice president and finance
chair of the Harding Area Boy Scout Council, and as a member of Rotary
International. He served as chair and treasurer of the Board of Trustees
of the Waldo Methodist Church, was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, and
was an active member of the Marion First Presbyterian Church.
17, 1914, in Howard County, Missouri, Mac was reared in Clifton Hill and
Columbia, Missouri, and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University
of Missouri. The Alumni Association of the University of Missouri, in 1976,
presented him with its Citation of Merit for outstanding achievement and
meritorious service in agriculture in the United States and Brazil. In
1938, Mac began both a professional life devoted to agribusiness and an
association with Ralston Purina Company which would ultimately take him
to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.
Honor Cadet at University of Missouri, Army 2nd Lieutenant McCorkle was
called to active duty in 1941, served in the Pacific Theater of Operations
with the 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, and advanced to the rank of
Lieutenant Colonel before his release from active duty in 1945. He returned
immediately to sales work with Purina in Marietta and Upper Sandusky, Ohio,
before purchasing an interest in what later became the Waldo Supply Company.
chief operating officer and major stockholder in six independent grain
and feed businesses in north central Ohio when these were purchased by
Landmark Farm Bureau in 1960. He was a director of the Ohio Grain &
Feed Dealers Association and served four terms as a director of the National
Grain & Feed Dealers Association. In 1964, Mac accepted Purina's offer
to open operations in Brazil. Through 1970, Mac was with Purina International,
first as founder and country manager of Purina's Brazilian subsidiary and
later as its Regional Manager for Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. He and
his wife, Mary-Cate studied Portuguese briefly before moving to Brazil—Mac
was often the only member of his organization to whom English was a first
language—and both continued to study and speak Portuguese throughout the
remainder of their lives. For part of this period, Mac owned and operated
Fazenda S?o Sebastia?, a 1,730-acre plantation in the state of Sao Paulo,
Brazil. From 1972-77 Mac was Country Manager, Brazil, for Central Soya
Company. He and his wife, C?lia Da Silva McCorkle, resided in Greensboro,
NC, from 1978.
Mac married Mary Catherine Carrington of Ventnor, New Jersey. During their
Marion County years, Mary-Cate was active in church, school, and civil
affairs, and served as editor of the weekly Prospect Monitor. She died
in 1974. Mac was also preceded in death by a son, William Carrington McCorkle
Mac is survived
by his wife, C?lia, of Greensboro, NC; four children, Leon Marshall (Diane)
McCorkle, Jr. of Dublin, OH, and Southport, NC; Lucinda Ann (Clyde) Allison
of Centerville, OH; Sam Batton (Lesley) McCorkle of Des Peres, MO; and
Michael Walton (Corinne) McCorkle of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; grandchildren,
Catherine Rengert McCorkle (Jeffrey) Shapiro, Molly Carrington McCorkle
(Benjamin) Rule, John Marshall McCorkle, Melissa Diane Allison (David)
Turim, William Leon Allison, Mary Elizabeth McCorkle (Scott) Nilsen, Megan
Emily (Jeremy Bade, fianc?) McCorkle, Matthew Kenneth McCorkle, Alexander
Michael McCorkle, Christopher James McCorkle; four great-grandchildren,
Joshua Louis Shapiro, Andrew Jacob Shapiro, Miriam Elizabeth Rule, Jonathan
Curtis Rule. Mac's Facs, his autobiography, was published privately in
memorial services were held in Greensboro and included Masonic participation
by members of Mac's home Lodge.
a.m. memorial service in celebration of Mac's life will be held at Waldo
Methodist Church on Saturday, June 25. Interment with military honors will
follow immediately in Waldo Cemetery.
in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice
or to the Waldo Methodist Church, 141 South Main Street, Waldo, OH 43356.
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