LeRoy “Lee” Block
1923 - 2010
LeRoy “Lee” Block, 87, of Watertown, died of cancer on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, at his home.
His body will be cremated at Schmutzler-Vick Funeral Home and Cremation Service. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, at First Congregational UCC on Kuckkan Lane at 10:30 a.m.
Lee was born Aug. 5, 1923, in Watertown, son of Arthur and Marcella (Buntrock) Block. He was a graduate of St. John's Lutheran School and Watertown High School, class of 1941.
During World War II, Lee served three years in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 radio operator, and later, B-29 radio operator in the Western Flying Training Command. Following the war, he resumed his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating in 1949 with a major in public relations and journalism. He was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, professional journalism fraternity.
Block was an employee of the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Publishing Company of New York for 46 years. He served as a textbook representative and educational consultant in New York City and the Midwest during his tenure. He was a former executive secretary of the Wisconsin Professional Bookman of America.
In 1953 he married Virginia “Dinny” Soper in Emmetsburg, Iowa. They were married for 57 years. They had five sons, Jim, Jon, Cory, Thomas and Todd. Lee was a 50-plus member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ and served as a trustee, landscape chairman and longtime member of its choir.
He was a 10-year member and former president of the Watertown Unified School Board. During his tenure, Riverside Middle School was built. Prior to this school board service, he had led a successful community campaign to change Watertown's school board organization from its former 19 member representation from the city's 14 wards and five townships. That change resulted in the present school board size and the at-large rather than area representation.
Block was a longtime member of the Watertown Historical Society and was its president for 10 years including the time when the Mollart Tour Center was built.
An avid golfer, he was a past director of the Watertown Country Club and a member for over 60 years.
He was a volunteer and member of the board of directors of the Watertown Food Pantry.
Lee had a special lifelong affinity for trees. He was a planner and planter of most of the trees on the new nine at the Watertown Country Club, the seven acres of the First Congregational Church grounds, and his former home and property on South Concord Avenue.
Survivors include his wife, Virginia; brothers, Tom (Kathy) of White River, Ariz., and Roger (Phyllis), Watertown; sister, Carol, Milwaukee; and three sons, James (Rene), Minneapolis, Minn., Cory (Judy), Mequon, and Jonathon, Orcas Island, Wash.; and four grandchildren, Alex, Greta, Erika and Sarah.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, Thomas and Todd; and one sister, Betty.