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Army Col. (Ret) John "Shack" McLeod Sr.
August 3, 1931 ~ June 25, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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John Sharon “Shack” McLeod Sr. was the third child of John Preston “JP” and Olgia Bell Crosland McLeod of Bennettsville, S.C. His mother owned a restaurant and hotel, and his father owned an auto mechanic shop. By the age of 14, John was a certified mechanic by Ford and was crop-dusting with a plane by age of 16. It was seeing the soldiers in uniform who visited his family businesses that led him down a different path.
He was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1953 after graduating as a distinguished military student from South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Education. That year, he married his college sweetheart, Lillie Pearl Gibson, of Sanford, Florida.
During his 30 years of active duty, John attained the rank of Colonel. His major assignments included Aviation Officer, VII U.S. Corps, Germany; Deputy Chief of Staff, Delta Regional Command, Vietnam; and Deputy Director for Plans, Policies and Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity. As Chief of Assignments in the Army’s Infantry Branch, John was responsible for the worldwide assignment of all Infantry officers. He also served as Executive Officer for the Infantry Branch, the largest branch in the Army. His commands included an infantry training company, a heavy weapons company, an infantry tactical company, an air cavalry troop in Vietnam, an aviation battalion in Germany, and the Army's largest recruiting command at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He served in Korea and Germany, and had three tours of duty in Vietnam.
His military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendations Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, a Master Aviator Badge, and the Department of Defense Identification Badge. He sustained injuries in combat and was awarded a Purple Heart.
His last assignment was as the Professor of Military Science in the ROTC program of his alma mater. He was a founding member of The ROCKs Inc., an officer mentoring organization. After retiring in 1983, John became Dean of Instructions at Denmark Technical College, Denmark, S.C. He also served as Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Representative and local Veterans Employment Representative with Orlando Job Service. He was President of the National Alumni Association of South Carolina State University, was inducted into the school’s ROTC Hall of Fame, and was a member of many professional and social organizations, including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and International Association of Personnel in Employment Security.
From 1987-1995, John was Executive Director of the Private Industry Council of Orange and Osceola Counties, where he directed the administration of the Job Training Partnership Act, developing the PIC into an award winning and highly regarded organization. He retired from there in 1995. He was a member of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and the Orlando ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out).
John was preceded in death by his parents, brothers David McLeod, Edward C. McLeod and sister Earline McLeod Dawkins. He is survived by his wife, Pearl; daughters Olgia Campbell, Karla Ann McLeod and Carol Chandler; sons John Jr. (Gwendolyn), Richard Sr. (Stella) and Paul R. Allen Jr. Grandchildren are Keith Chandler (Teresa); Austin P. Freeman (Nicholas); Jessica Schuman (John); and Richard Jr., Simeon and Helenarose McLeod. Great-grandchildren are Anaya and Liana Chandler. Sister-in-law is Janie McLeod (Edward); and a host of nieces and nephews. Of special note are his “granddogs,” especially the ones who brought him daily comfort: Brock F. Sampson (deceased), King and Dewi.
Services will be at 2 p.m. July 2 at Belle Isle Community Church in Orlando. Interment will be 1 p.m. July 3, 2023 at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Scottsmoor, FL.