Obituary

Portrait of Leonard Linton
Portrait of Leonard Linton

Leonard Linton died January 18, 2005 at Long Beach Hospital close to his Point Lookout, New York, home at age 83 of a massive stroke.

Linton was born January 1, 1922, stateless in Yokohama, Japan, because his parents fleeing the Bolshevik revolution renounced their Soviet citizenship. His cultured parents brought him up to be fluent in four languages. As a teenager he traveled throughout Europe more than most people do in a lifetime. He enjoyed a privileged life in Berlin and Paris where his schooling began and learned much about various European peoples to be useful later to the Army. Just as WW II broke out the Lintons arrived in New York. He graduated from Haaren High School, attended New York University and then Columbia University where he majored in physics and mathematics. He was drafted into the US Army on May 19, 1943 and was naturalized in Macon Georgia on October 1, 1943.

Linton volunteered for hazardous parachute duty and became a qualified parachutist in Ft. Benning on August 18, 1944. During the latter period of the Battle of the Bulge, Linton was assigned to the famous 82nd Airborne Division. Linton saw and fought both Nazis and Communists. Buried underground for 2 days by a tank rolling over him and his 2 dead friends left him with serious claustrophobia for the rest of his life. He was found and dug out only because the tip of his rifle was protruding above ground and seen by passing American tanks. Following the Bulge he was sent to an Army Military Government school. Assigned to Military Government, G-5, he was one of a 6-man team governing German territories captured by the 82nd Airborne in the northern Germany Campaign. Due to his Russian fluency all liaison work between the 82nd Airborne and the Red Army in North Germany while it occupied Berlin were added to his tasks.

At the urging of his General Gavin, he wrote two unpublished manuscripts: "Kilroy Was Here" and "Kilroy Was Here Too" which are descriptions of his activities in the American 82nd Airborne Division's Military Government Section and his involvement against Red Army Intelligence during the early phases of the Cold War. He earned several Army decorations.

After WW II, Linton studied business administration joining one of the world's major grain companies. He became a corporate officer but after seven years, he left and developed Central Resources Corporation (CRC) a successful, sizable multinational chemical fertilizer business covering most non-communist countries. His company, CRC had a string of wholly owned subsidiaries in numerous countries. In 1978 he ventured into oil and gas exploration, development and production onshore in the USA. As Chief Executive Officer he was responsible to provide leadership and overall management of operations; established basic policies, organization, plans, guidance, developed and evaluated activities in terms of objectives. During later years he marketed his international business experience in the form of high end management consulting contracts.

He was an active member of the New York Chapter 82nd Airborne association and designed their commemorative monument dedicated June 14, 2003 in Eisenhower Park. Almost every year he visited Ludwigslust in north Germany, the last town taken by his division into which he was the first paratrooper to enter. There he performed military government functions and participated to commemorate the May 2, 1945 liberation of 3,500 inmates from the Wöbbelin concentration camp. He developed a computerized database of that concentration camp's former inmates.

May 2000 Linton was unanimously nominated by resolution of the city council of Ludwigslust as their first honorary citizen and also appointed by the mayor of the village of Wöbbelin as its citizen. As a result of his experiences liberating the Wobbelin concentration camp, he was interviewed by Steven Spielberg's SHOAH Foundation.

He was active for over 30 years in the American Management Association (AMA) where he donated many lectures on International Marketing. He was a former member of its Board of Trustees, a member of International Counsel (Counsel Chairman for 3 years) and an AMA "Wall of Fame" honoree for development of managers.

His hobbies were astronomy and he collected many beautiful antique objects and books related to the history of astronomy, notably one of the world's largest collection of astrolabes in private ownership. He was an advanced photographer with a darkroom equipped for color processing. He designed and made sophisticated accessories with his miniature precision lathe. His sports were swimming, sailing and horseback riding.

He lived in a beach-front house which he designed himself, topped off by an observatory to complete his love of astronomy. With his wife of 57 years, Catherine, they had a Down's Syndrome son which prompted them to become substantial contributors to AHRC on Long Island which gave impetus to group homes. He is survived by his wife, daughters Alexandra and Patricia, son Nicholas and son-in-law Dara.