Leon was born on 2 November 1901 in the small town of Phlox, Langlade County, Wisconsin, which is very much the near center of the state. His parents were Joseph & Mary Philomene (LAURENT) DeBROUX. He had 5 brothers all with the middle name of Joseph and 2 sisters all with the middle name of Margaret.
Leon’s father passed away in 1918 in Phlox. Sometime between then and 1920, the family moved to DePere near Green Bay in Brown County to live with Leon’s aunt and uncle. About a year later, Leon was back in Phlox, this time marrying a local girl, Mildred Vida VAN PRICE. At the time, he was listed as being a “cheese maker." It may have been a rushed wedding, who knows, but the couple did have a child in September 1921. Sadly, the child did not make it. Two years later in 1923, their first son, Norbert, was born. He was better know later as “Dee Bee.” In 1927, my grandmother, Marjorie, was born after the family had moved south to Port Washington in Ozaukee County, where they would stay.
In 1940, Leon was listed as a laborer at the local chair factory, the Wisconsin Chair Company. By the 1950s, Leon was making a living as an AFL-CIO union organizer. His name is mentioned many times in local stories about helping workers around the area.
One big thing that Leon was part of in Ozaukee County was getting the local hospital built. At the time, in 1938, there was no local hospital. Discussions were started after an accident in the area that cost the lives of five people because they had to go to outside hospitals. A few people, including Leon, met at his house in 1938 to figure out how to get a hospital built. In 1939, all of the planning came together and the building of a hospital was approved with the cornerstone being laid on November 3rd, 1940. St. Alphonsus Hosptial opened on May 1, 1941.
On 15 September 1982, Leon had a heart attack and passed away in Port Washington at the same hospital he helped build. He is buried in Port Washington at St. Mary’s Cemetery overlooking the rural fields of Ozaukee County.
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