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Hazel Leff: Great-grandmother, US Army veteran

Great-grandmother, US Army veteran, first in family to attend high school and college

Hazel Leff died at the Claremont Manor Care Center on July 12, one day shy of her 100th birthday.

Born Hazel Choate in Junction City, Kentucky on July 13, 1920, she was the first in her family to attend high school and college.

Hazel graduated from Sue Bennett College, a two year college in London, Kentucky, in 1941. She served in the United States Army Auxiliary Corps and later in the US Army from 1942 to 1945. She left the military with the rank of first lieutenant.

During World War II she met her future husband, Irving Leff, at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. They were married in Enid, Oklahoma in December 1945. They remained married more than 60 years, until Irving’s death in 2006.

After settling in New York City after the war, she earned a four year bachelor’s degree from Columbia University Teachers College. The family ultimately settled in Buffalo, New York, where they raised their three children.

She is survived by her children Roy Leff (Kathy), Clyde Leff (Ramona) and Emily Leff (Jim Davis); grandchildren Katie Gilmore (Ryan), Alison Hersowitz (Warren), Alex Leff and Anastasia Leff; and great-granddaughter Lily Gilmore. 

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