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A Long Journey
Leo Anthony Slapkauskas was born in Kybartai Lithuania to Juozas and Ona Slapkauskas in September 1932. During this period of time, Lithuania was under the control of the Soviet Union. This occupation would lead to his family ultimately fleeing to Germany where he was surrounded by the very chaotic and unimaginable conditions brought about by WWII. His family was able to obtain safe passage in 1951 with the assistance of his fellow countrymen and their church St. Anthony's in Omaha, Nebraska. This journey would take them by boat to New York followed by a long train ride to Omaha. It was this journey that set the foundation for the rest of his life. Leo's life would now be far different from anything he had ever experienced to this point, a past once engulfed in war to that of peace and freedom.
One memory he often told was how he came to love the harmonica; as a child in the bombed-out rubble of a building, he found a harmonica and taught himself how to play. The joy of music born in such darkness was a light for him and a joy to hear for others. He was well known to break into his harmonica...or belt out a song..for anyone and everyone who was willing to listen! This was just one of many aspects of who he was and how he brought light to all around him.
His long journey has led him to where he is now, a heavenly one where he once again is spreading joy and light to all. He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Joan, three daughters and two sons, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Of course, he knew no strangers, only friends he hadn't met yet. WE love you and will miss you Dad!
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