Cover photo for Leon L. Anderson's Obituary
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1932 Leon 2022

Leon L. Anderson

September 28, 1932 — July 1, 2022

El Paso



Leon L. “Andy” Anderson, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Retired. 89, of El Paso, Texas, passed away July 01, 2022, of natural causes.   


Leon was born on September 28, 1932, in Kremmling, Colorado and raised on his aunt and uncle’s ranch in Dillion, Colorado. After his mother, Mildred Anderson, married his stepfather, Fred Hackett, he relocated to Denver, Colorado to attend East High School.


On September 04, 1951, Leon enlisted in the Marine Corp, he served two years of combat in the Korean War and was elevated to the rank of Sergeant. On September 03, 1954, Leon officially separated from the Marine Corp to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver.  During Leon’s college years, he met and married Mary Jessie Strachan Anderson and on September 19, 1956, had their first-born son, Robert Anderson. On March 27, 1958, with his BS in geography. Leon reenlisted in the Marines, he attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) and upon graduation he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  Leon and Mary Jessie’s family began to grow after their second son, Kirk Anderson, was born in Quantico, Virginia.  Leon successfully completed OCS and was assigned to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California.  During his assignment in California, the Anderson family welcomed two additional children Craig, and Melisa Anderson, to its clan.


When Leon attained the rank of 2nd Lt., he submitted numerous appeals to Marine Corp Headquarters requesting to be assigned to its Infantry Division, he was met with negative results.  On September 28, 1962, Leon’s love for the infantry took priority resulting in his decision to separate from the Marines and enlist in the Army as an infantry officer.  The Army promoted Leon to the rank of Captain and assigned him to an Infantry Division, as a Company Commander in Berlin, Germany. While in Germany, his wife Jessie gave birth to their fifth and final child, Deborah.


Leon’s next assignment was to Ft. Benning, Georgia where he attended and completed the Infantry officers advanced course.  In 1967, Leon was deployed to Vietnam; one of two tours of combat in Vietnam.  Three weeks into his first combat tour, Leon was leading a foot patrol when a South Vietnamese soldier, in close proximity, stepped on a land mine.  The metal shrapnel tore into Leon’s body causing serious injuries; he was transported to a U.S. military hospital in Japan where he was treated, released, and finished his combat tour.  Leon returned to the States, was promoted to the rank of Major, and assigned to Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana.  After his assignment to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, he attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC), as a student, in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  Leon volunteered to return to Vietnam for his second tour of combat upon graduation from CGSC.  During Leon’s nine (9) month CGSC student period, the Anderson family established themselves within the Ft. Leavenworth community and chose to remain in Leavenworth, KS while awaiting Leon’s return from Vietnam.  Leon sustained many injuries during his second tour of combat; numerous helicopter crashes due to mechanical issues and/or his craft was shot down by enemy fire.  He sustained gunshot wounds to the body and was recognized for saving the lives of fellow soldiers during combat.  Leon returned to the States permanently and was reassigned to Ft.  Leavenworth, not as a student, but as an instructor at the Command and General Staff College.  This assignment provided quality time with his family.  All five of the Anderson children were competitive swimmers, so Leon and Jessie volunteered to be the head coaches for the Ft. Leavenworth swim team.  Both he and Jessie were loved by the swimmers and loved just as much by their parents.  In July 1976, Leon officially retired from the Army and moved to Kansas City, Missouri where he taught and coached soccer at Park College. After two years in KCMO, he moved the family to El Paso, Texas to pursue a career in the tank line trucking business.  He managed a trucking company for four years, as much as he loved the trucking business, he missed living and working abroad. His first overseas assignment, in a nonmilitary capacity, was working as an American Observer in the Sinai Peninsula.  After three years in that position, he worked with the Mujahideen in the Khyber Pass located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. Leon’s wife and family were not allowed to be with him due to the hazardous environment, so he decided to work for the Department of State which allows family members to travel with him.  Leon and Jessie enjoyed many years together traveling and working overseas. They lived in Suriname, South American; Dar es Salam, Tanzania; Addis Abba, Ethiopia; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  In September 1996, Leon reached the mandatory retirement age of the State Department and returned to El Paso, Texas with his wife to enjoy his retirement years.  In February 2008, his wife Jessie passed away unexpectedly leaving Leon to manage life without his spouse of fifty-two (52) years.  He found solace and a renewed commitment with his band of brothers from the 82nd Airbourne, the VFW Post 812 and the Special Forces Chapter IX groups. 



Military Decorations:    Parachute Badge, Ranger Tab, Korean Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, (3) Purple Hearts, (2) Bronze Stars, (1) Silver Star, (3) Vietnam Service Medals, (1) Viet Nam Jump Wings, and the Vietnam Medal of Honor.

Military Organizations: 82nd Airbourne Association – El Paso, Tx; Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 812 – El Paso, Tx; Special Forces Chapter IX – El Paso, Tx


Leon is survived by:    

Wife:                           Mary Jessie Strachan Anderson (deceased 02/2008)

Children:                      Robert John Anderson

                                    Kirk Michael Anderson (Melissa)

                                    Craig Allan Anderson (Dorothy)

                                    Melisa Ann Anderson

                                    Deborah Lynn Anderson (Aubrey Charles “Chuck”)

Mother:                        Mildred Smith Anderson Hackett

Stepfather:                   Fred Hackett

Grandchildren:             Matthew Ely (Christine); Logan Anderson Cisneros (James); Scott Anderson (Kelsie); Kaitlyn Anderson; Connor Anderson; Shelby Ray; Aubrey Charles “Chaz” Ray 3rd

Great Grandchildren:    Lincoln Ely; Jeffery Cisneros; Carlie Cisneros; Rosalee Cisneros; Jayley Cisneros.

                                    Chase Cisneros; Peyton Anderson


A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, July 11, 2022 from 9:00am to 12:00pm, with a Celebration of Life to follow at 10:30am at Sunset Funeral Home-West, 480 N. Resler Dr. El Paso, Texas 79912. An Inurnment will be held at 1:00pm at Fort Bliss National Cemetery with full Army Honors, 5200 Fred Wilson Ave, El Paso, TX 79906.


The Anderson family is requesting donations to either of these two associations in lieu of flowers.  Thank you

1.  82nd Airborne Division Association    
     Benavidez-Patterson 82nd Chapter
     2608 Fort Blvd
     El Paso, TX   79930
     (915) 562-9969
2.  Veterans of Foreign War Association 
      VFW Post 812
      2400 Davis-Seamon Rd
      El Paso, TX   79930
      (915) 562-2161

Those who cannot attend in person may join the funeral and memorial services virtually on Face book Live at (no account is needed). Services entrusted to Sunset Funeral Home-West, 480 N. Resler.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Leon L. Anderson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, July 11, 2022

9:00am - 12:00pm (Mountain time)

Sunset Funeral Homes - West

480 North Resler, El Paso, TX 79912

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Celebration of Life

Monday, July 11, 2022

Starts at 10:30am (Mountain time)

Sunset Funeral Homes - West

480 North Resler, El Paso, TX 79912

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, July 11, 2022

Starts at 1:00pm (Mountain time)

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