Leslie E. Stilwell, 83, of 110 South St., Ridgway, died Monday morning, Jan. 20, 2014 at the Butler Memorial Hospital in Butler following a lengthy illness.
He was born June 22, 1930 in Roulette, son of the late George Leslie and Minnie (Carr) Stilwell.
He married Mary Eleanor DeVoge on Jan. 21, 1956, and she survives.
Les served in the U.S. Navy for three years, serving on the U.S. Kearsarge and the USS Leyte until his honorable discharge on May 3, 1950. From there he went to enlist in the Pennsylvania State Police on Feb. 15, 1952. Les started his police career as a trooper and retired as a lieutenant in 1985 after 33 years. His career with the State Police was served in Troop C, Punxsutawney, with the exception of a year in Troop G, Hollidaysburg.
He was station commander in Troop C Ridgway and Clearfield stations, and Troop G Rockview station, and also served as staff services section patrol and criminal section commanders at Punxsutawney headquarters. He also served as platoon commander for numerous riots and labor disputes.
He received a letter of commendation from the State Police commissioner for his outstanding leadership, dedication, personal sacrifice and excellence in commanding the undercover vice unit, responsible at the time for arresting the largest number of persons on drug, gambling and related charges ever completed in this area. He was also one of two policemen in the state to be selected to attend a three-month training course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
After retiring from the Pennsylvania State Police, Les kept busy working various security jobs in the area and also drove for the ATA.
Les loved animals and was always bringing home strays from the pound, which he had to pass at times on his way to work. He spent many hours volunteering at animal shelters and taking care of, feeding, and walking many of the neighborhood dogs who all loved him.
An accomplished marksman, his favorite hobbies were hunting, fishing, and target shooting. It was not uncommon to find him on the streams near his home in Roulette during trout season.
Les was a member of St. Leo Catholic Church, the K of C, and the Fraternal Order of Police.
In addition to his wife Mary Eleanor Stilwell, he is survived by four children, Kim E. Anderson and her husband Andrew of Pittsburgh, L. Paul Stilwell and his wife Karen of Ridgway, Gregory M. Stilwell and his wife Joanne of Coraopolis, and Anne L. Jaskowak and her husband Charles of Grove City; 13 grandchildren, Brian, Maureen, Elise, and Joseph Anderson of Pittsburgh, Amber, Louis, and Robert Stilwell of Ridgway, Nicholas Stilwell of Coraopolis, and Mark, Daniel, Mary, Catherine, and Charles Jaskowak of Grove City.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by two half-sisters, Patricia O'Neill and Virginia Smith.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Leslie E. Stilwell will be celebrated at St. Leo Catholic Church on Friday, Jan. 24 at 11 a.m. with military honors accorded by the Ridgway Servicemen's Burial Detail. Officiating will be Fr. Brian E. Vossler, Pastor of St. Leo Catholic Church. Burial will follow at St. Leo Cemetery.
Friends will be received at the Thompson Funeral Home, 136 Center St., Ridgway on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6-8 p.m.
Memorials, if desired, may be made to the Ridgway YMCA at 38 North Broad St., Ridgway, Pa. 15853.