Leo Zoust

Friday, October 12, 2012

Leo Zoust, 88, of East Moline, died Monday, Oct. 1, at Genesis Medical Center-Illini Campus in Silvis, following an extended illness.

He was born Oct. 3, 1923, in Buena Vista County, near Storm Lake, to Chester Arthur and Grace Ellen (Murray) Foust.

He retired from United Township High School in East Moline after 20 years (1966-1986). He taught aviation science, various co-op courses and vocational machine shop during his tenure. He began his teaching career in 1949 at Catholic Community/Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling. He left after 17 years, in 1966, after teaching industrial education and algebra, and being involved in girls drill squad, closed-circui TV and school maintenance.

He was a pilot during World War II, and continued in the reserves for 23 years after the war. He attained the rank of major. He was a graduate of Squadron Officers' School and Instructor School Air University of Montgomery, Ala. He also served as liaison officer to the United States Air Force Academy.

In 1985, he became cofounder of the search for pilots who graduated from the various World War II pilot training schools. He hosted the first reunion of 11 pilots in 1986. The mailing list grew to more than 1,500 pilots from the Class 1944 H-I-J. He handled all correspondence from 1985-1995, when he co-hosted the reunion in Cleveland, where he had to bid the members farewell. He thoroughly enjoyed the reunions, which were held annually somewhere in the U.S.

He graduated in 1941 from Providence High School in Sulphur Springs. After graduation, he attended Lake View Defense School and obtained a job with Glenn L. Martin in Baltimore, from which he joined the Army Air Corps.

He was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Frances Cecilia Mernin, in June 1945, in Midland, Texas. Upon his release from active war duty, they resided in Ames, where he entered Iowa State University. Upon his graduation in 1949, they moved to Sterling.

Leo and Cecilia were married 67 years, and were blessed with five sons, Larry (Jackie) and Terry (Kathleen), both of Dixon, Gary (Jane) of Sterling, Michael (Peggy) of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Leo (Kelley) of Georgetown, Texas. There are 18 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Mary Jane Foust.

Memorials may be made to Newman Central Catholic High School or to the family.

The family would like to show their appreciation to the staff at Hope Creek, East Moline, for the thoughtfulness and care shown to Leo over the past 3 years.

Visit www.vanhoe.com to send condolences.