Loss of a Leader

The DeKalb Fire Protection District mourns the loss of retired Fire Captain William Leon Reese, who passed away on February 11, 2024. He was 80 years old. 

Leon retired from the DeKalb Fire Department in 2013 after serving for 32 years. Leon was one of the founding members of the DeKalb (MO) Rural Volunteer Fire Department established in 1981. Leon helped establish what is now the DeKalb Fire Protection District. 

Leon was always on the fire board since its inception, until retiring in approximately 10 years ago. Leon was President of the Fire Board for over 2 decades. Leon held the rank of Captain and as a Driver/Engineer. It was hard to beat Leon to the fire station when there was a call. When personnel were arriving at the station, Leon always had the fire truck pulled out of the station waiting for volunteers.

Leon was instrumental in the planning, logistics, and building process of the current fire station that was constructed in 2009/2010. 

Leon also helped bring the fire department out of the old and into the new. In addition to Leon’s commitment to the fire department, he was a great father and a family sponsor to many foreign exchange students over the years. 

When Leon retired from the fire department, he was presented with a Courtesy Resolution by the Missouri House of Representatives, made possible by then State Representative Galen Higdon. Leon received many accolades over the years for his service to the community.

Leon was active in the Rushville (MO) Masonic Lodge, DeKalb Christian Church, DeKalb Homecoming Association, Region H Haz-Mat Team, DeKalb (MO) Village Board of Trustees and was the DeKalb mayor a time or two as well.

Our department will always be indebted to Leon’s service and commitment to public service. Leon was a great friend and mentor to all. 

Funeral services were held on Monday, February 19, 2024, at Rupp Funeral Home in St. Joseph. Leon was inurned on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at Westlawn Cemetery in DeKalb, MO following a last call. Leon is survived by his two daughters and several grandchildren.