Leo J. Harmon Sr., 80, a longtime River Forest resident, died on April 13, 2013 after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. A native of Chicago's Austin neighborhood, he was the youngest of six children born to James and Marion Harmon. His brothers, Jim, Bob, Joe, and Don all died between 1973 and 1983, and their combined 24 children adopted Leo as their surrogate father. His sister, Marion, died in 1994, leaving him to preside as patriarch over growing generations of Harmons.
Mr. Harmon attended Help of Christians Parish Grade School, St. Ignatius High School, and Georgetown University. After retiring from Harmon Electric Co., he had a long second career in real estate in Oak Park and River Forest and at the University of Chicago. He was active for more than 50 years in St. Luke Parish.
But his true, lifelong avocation was acting, and he appeared in countless plays on stages all across the Chicago region and in television commercials. In appearance and demeanor, he was often compared to Henry Fonda. He was also renowned for his annual dramatic reading of the Passion of Christ at St. Luke Church.
Leo Harmon is survived by Judy (Bowdern), his beloved wife of 57 years; his children, Cindy (Bill) Mastbrook, Laurette, Leo (Kathleen), and Peter (Joan Mallers); his grandchildren, Sean (Rachel), Matt (Kara), Colleen, and Conor Harmon, Brennan, Logan, and Riley Harmon, and Liam, Aidan, Declan and Annabelle Mastbrook; his sisters-in-law, Marge and Anne Harmon; his many, nieces and nephews, and his many great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
The last true Irish wake of his generation of Harmons will be held this Friday, April 19 from 3 to 9 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home (in accordance with a decades-old promise made by Harmon Electric when it got the contract to do the wiring at Drechsler Brown's old location) in Oak Park.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on April 20 at St. Luke Catholic Church in River Forest.