Nicholas Louis Leo
Signal Company, Special : Radio A
Born 1922 in NY, Died 2022
County of residence at enlistment: Nassau County, NY
Other residence(s): Farmingdale, NY; Bethpage, NY; currently Brentwood, NY
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: semiskilled occupations in building of aircraft, n.e.c.
College education before the war: Farmingdale State College 1 year
College education after the war: Farmingdale State College; Molloy College; Suffolk Community College
Nick Leo was born on August 24, 1922 in Brooklyn, NY, the oldest of five children. Both of his parents were immigrants from Calabria, Italy. The family moved to Farmingdale, NY sometime during Nick's childhood, and he graduated from Farmingdale High School in 1940. Nick started playing the accordion about the time he started high school, a skill he would practice and perfect for at least 80 years to come.
When he registered for the draft, on June 30, 1942, he was working at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale. When he enlisted a few months later, on November 10, his enlistment record reported that he had one year of college and his profession was "semiskilled occupation in building of aircraft."
He was part of the Signal Company Special with the Ghost Army. He was one of a small number of Ghost Army soldiers who landed in Normandy as part of the D-Day landings. While stationed in France, he met his future wife, Pierrette Muller. After the war he came back to France to marry her—on December 22, 1945 in Homecourt, France with German POWs as witnesses. Nick and Pierrette settled in Bethpage, NY and went on to have five children.
Nick earned his Associate's degree from Farmingdale State College in 1948. He combined his previous work experience building aircraft with his skill as an artist when he got a job in the Art Department at Grumman Corporation, where he spent five years.
His daughter Michele reports that Nick had joined the Naval Reserve after the war, and served as a radio man on the USS Gatling 671 during the Korean War.
She also reports that his professional work fell into three categories: he was employed as a musician, an artist, and an architect/builder at various points in his career.
As an accordionist he was a daily regular on the Eddie Bracken Radio Show; appeared on the Ozark Jubilee Show in Springfield, MO; and played in various clubs on Long Island and in New York City.
As an artist, he did display work, signs, silk screens, and logos.
As an architect/builder, he designed and built three car dealerships on Long Island and a catering hall.
His hobbies stemmed from all these areas and more—painting, music, building model ships and planes, building furniture, Morse code, learning languages, running, cooking, gardening, and winemaking. Nick loved to learn; he studied Chinese at Molloy College in Rockville Center, and AutoCAD at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.
He was a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802 (Greater New York).
Finally, Michele says that her father is "most proud of his marriage of 74 years to his wife, Pierrette, along with their five children and families." His relationship with Pierrette was a long and happy one; she died in 2020.
Nick died on May 18, 2022, three months before what would have been his 100th birthday.
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1954 shipboard record (US to France)
1954 shipboard record (France to US)
2021 (March 2) GALP Veteran Biography Worksheet from daughter, Michele Leo