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Leroy Light
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Leroy Light, 74, passed away in Palm Desert, CA on Sunday, Dec. 27, with his wife Mary by his side.

He was a former teacher, coach, and athlete and was born on Feb. 27, 1935.

Mr. Light was an avid runner who participated in 33 marathons, including the Avenue of the Giants and in 1977, the Boston Marathon. His annual short-run favorites were Bay to Breakers, Wharf to Wharf, Godzilla Gasp, and the Sportsman of Stanislaus (S.O.S.) Can to Can.

He was a long time member of the S.O.S. where he served as swim coach during the '60s and '70s, creating the swimmers' "Turkey Award" for the slackers or goof-offs. He also was involved in handball, racquetball, basketball, and baseball at the club. The S.O.S. was a large part of his life, not only for sports, but because he met the love of his life, Mary, there on July 4, 1967.

Mr. Light was a graduate of Escalon High School and Fresno State. He was a physical education teacher and coach in Delhi and Ceres, and at Somerset and Ustach Middle Schools in the Sylvan Union School District. His enthusiasm for running inspired many former students to run competitively in high school and college, and on into adulthood. He retired in 1995 after teaching 35 years. In their retirement years, Leroy and Mary continued their many travels and relocated to their vacation home in Palm Desert, CA in 2006.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Mary; his son Greg Light (Staci); daughter Diane Alley (Mike); grandchildren Kendra Sarvis (Justin), Taylor Alley, Alexandra Light, and Alyssa Light, all of Stockton; and his sister Louise Sleight (Jim) of Palm Springs, CA.

Private graveside services will be held at Burwood Cemetery in Escalon.

A Celebration of Life for his family and friends will be held on Saturday, Jan. 9, 11:30 a.m., at the S.O.S. Club, 819 Sunset Ave., Modesto.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to a favorite charity.

Arrangements by Deegan Funeral Chapel in Escalon, with an on-line guest book available at

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

Jan. 6, 2010