Oran Leon DeLoach died and entered into the joy of heaven on Monday, September 30, 2019. Leon, as he was affectionately called, was 81 at the time of his death. He was a Christian, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Teacher and Caregiver for all he came in contact with. He was born on March 7, 1938 in Carrollton, Mississippi. Leon was preceded in death by his first wife of 27 years, Donna Whitten DeLoach. Leon is survived by his wife of 23 years, Jolynn Urbanelli DeLoach, children, Kim DeLoach Tomlin (Paul), Lee Whitten DeLoach (Sandi) and Gerald Wilson DeLoach (Doreen), step children Erica Levin (Daniel), Rachel Levin, Aaron Levin, Daniel Levin (Kim), and grandchildren Paul Tomlin, Donna Tomlin, Elizabeth DeLoach, Lukas DeLoach, Lily DeLoach, Tyler DeLoach, and Zoey Levin, along with many nieces and nephews.
Leon was a strong Christian man who professed Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord at the young age of 9 and was baptized in March of 1948. While growing up, he was very active in the First Baptist Church of Greenville, MS. This love of God and the Church continued until his death as he was always an active member of the church he was attending; most recently, until his death, First Presbyterian Church of Merchantville, NJ.
He grew up in Greenville, Mississippi where he attended and graduated from Greenville High School. He was also a proud graduate of The University of Mississippi where he studied Music Education and Vocal Performance receiving both his BM and MM Degrees. He was also conferred the degree of Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) from Combs College in PA.
Leon served in the United States Army, ROTC, and Reserves from 1958 through 1969, and ended his military service with a rank of Captain. He used his musical talents while serving in Germany by leading a Soldier’s Chorus, and was the Assistant Special Services Officer in Charge of Division Chorus and Entertainment Group.
Leon was an accomplished Baritone singer as well. He studied under renowned vocal teacher, Dorothy DiScala at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Leon was a member of the Philadelphia Opera Chorus where he sang many Operas with world famous artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Robert Merrill, and Joan Sutherland. He sang as a soloist for many area musical events as well as for countless weddings and funerals.
In addition to Leon’s prowess as a singer he was a trumpet player who loved performing on the instrument. He was a member of The Wind Symphony of Southern New Jersey for over 30 years and he regularly played during the church services at the First Presbyterian Church.
Leon taught music in the NJ public schools for 37 years. He taught at Triton High School, Merchantville School, and Cinnaminson School District. He taught both vocal music and instrumental music during his years of teaching. He was a staunch supporter and advocate for music education in the state of NJ. Leon was also a well respected voice and trumpet teacher. He had many private students who grew and flourished under his tutelage.
Leon had an incredible impact in the church community through his years as a Choir Director. He was Church Choir Director at Grace Episcopal Church in Merchantville, Calvary Community Baptist Church in Pennsauken, First Baptist Church in Merchantville and First Presbyterian Church in Merchantville.
You are invited to join us for his service on Saturday October 5th at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Merchantville located at 10 W Maple Ave. Visitation will be from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. with the service starting promptly at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Merchantville, or the Wind Symphony of Southern NJ, Attn: Jennifer Blair, 35 Cambridge Avenue, Westmont, NJ 08108. Interment at Bethel Cemetery in Pennsauken will immediately follow the service.
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First Presbyterian Church of Merchantville
10 West Maple Avenue, Merchantville NJ 08109
Wind Symphony of Southern NJ
35 Cambridge Avenue, Westmont NJ 08108