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Leon H. "Lee" Ratzlaff ( Missoula 1943 )

posted: Jul 27, 2012


Lee, 78, died May 20, 1998, in Henderson, Nebraska. He attended York College in Nebraska for a year and then taught 15 months before he was drafted for service in World War II. As a conscientious objector Lee served in the CPS-103 program and jumped from Missoula during the 1943-45 seasons. Lee was worried about not qualifying for jumping due to his weight, which was close to the 135-pound minimum. Not taking any chances, he bought all the available rationed bananas – approximately five pounds of them – at a local grocery store and ate them before his final physical. After the war Lee returned to farming until 1954. He later became partially paralyzed being injured on the job as a truck driver.