Leslie Stiebritz lived a long and industrious life. Born September 11, 1913 in Elk, Washington, Leslie passed away on October 28, 2017 at the age of 104. His family moved to Longview when he was 16 in 1929. Leslie arrived in Longview before his family by riding in a boxcar tending to his family’s personal belongings and farm animals. The rest of the family came to Longview in a car, meeting Leslie at the Kelso Train Depot a week later.
Leslie graduated from R. A. Long High School in 1931 (known then as Longview High School). After high school he moved to Central Oregon where he herded sheep for a time during the Great Depression. He returned to Longview where he met Verone Warner, who would become his future wife. Leslie worked at Weyerhaeuser until he enlisted in the U. S. Army, on January 7, 1942.
Following basic training, he was assigned to the 90th Division Fire Direction Center. Using maps to plot locations, his job was to figure the range and direction data for all the artillery guns. Les was among the soldiers who landed at Utah Beach on D-Day. His battalion traveled across France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia while sleeping in foxholes. While in Hof, Germany the 11th Panzer Division surrendered. His battalion of 500 men had to guard and process 15,000 Germans and their equipment, which included tanks, artillery, and vehicles. General Patton recommended the 90th Division to receive the Presidential Unit Citation.
After the war, Les married his sweetheart Verone on Nov. 10, 1945. He resumed his job at Weyco and worked there for 32 years. He and Verone bought the Longview - Kelso Bus Company in 1968 and operated the city bus system until they sold it to the city of Longview in 1976.
Not ready to retire, Les drove a mail truck and picked up the local mail in Portland every evening for a few years. Les also helped run his son’s fishing business out of Ilwaco. Being very active, he did not completely retire until his early 90s. Les was a family man who enjoyed spending time with his family and attending the 90th Division Army Reunions, and in March of 2017, he received the Legion of Honor Medal from France, for his service to their country.
Note: Leslie's Lifetime Achievement Award was made posthumously.