Fond Memories

Submitted by Stephanie Dwilson, Daughter

Dr. Leon F. Dube is an absolutely amazing man. He's the most kindhearted father that a girl could ask for, and he has a really unique and accomplished history, too. My only regret is that I didn't write this while he was still alive, so he could see how I view his life and read this story. But he knew that I loved him, and I always knew that he loved me, and that is what is most important in life.

Leon Was a Dedicated Family Man and Christian

Dad was always a dedicated Christian and family man. He taught us to love Jesus. He was always ready to sacrifice for us and do whatever was needed for his family. I remember growing up, he'd lead a short devotional and read a passage from the Bible every morning before school. During Advent, every week we'd have a special Advent lesson where we'd take out one character from the Advent box (it might be a shepherd, a sheep, a cow, an angel -- all the way to baby Jesus) and read a lesson about that character. I loved that part of Christmas time. :)

Dad also loved his pets! He and Mom had a super tame cat before they had any kids that even walked on a harness and rode on trips with them. His last dog, Sandi, rode in the car everywhere with him, even if he was just going to the post office. And he loved our two cats. He'd often spend time with them on the patio, just hanging out.

Dad was also loved by his brother, Leonard, and his sister, Barbara. And his mom and dad were tough but soft-hearted farmers. I loved them! And Dad got a lot of that tough-but-soft side from them, I bet. If I needed a bug killed, he would kind of roll his eyes as Mom and I ran screaming from a roach, and kill it quickly. But every time we drove somewhere, he would point out a cat that he saw and talk about how cute it was.

Leon and Barbara Were Absolutely Adorable and Still Madly in Love After 60 Years of Marriage

My parents were ridiculously in love for 60 years (plus the years they were dating!) Mom said they got engaged before Dad left for the Army and their pastor got really mad, warning them against a long engagement! But they wrote letters to each other all the time while they were apart (letters Mom says they later burned so none of us would read them, haha.) Once Dad returned, they were inseparable from then on. They weren't just husband and wife, they were best friends.

Here's just one cute story. In the El Paso Herald-Post in July 1961, a section called "The Gadabout" talked about different residents and their comings and goings. They had a little blurb about Dad once! It read: "Leon and Barbara Dube of Dolphin Street have returned from a visit with relatives in Mission, Texas. They also traveled to Monterrey with Miss Barbara Dube, Leon's sister. Having two Barbara's is double fun, he says."

Mom and Dad had many adventures together, like the time he needed an appendectomy right after they got married, and after the emergency surgery with the Army, the scar was in the wrong place! Or how they held hands even after being married for more than 50 years, because they just loved the heck out of each other.

Leon Was a Veteran and Even Worked on Top-Secret Government Projects

Dad was an army veteran. He once told me that when he went to boot camp, it was the first time he was away from home for a long period of time and he was sooo nervous! After the Army, he worked in radar on some top secret government projects, including shooting down missiles. He and Mom and Mike lived on Kwajalein, a tiny island in the South Pacific, for a couple years. Then Dad worked at White Sands and Mom helped out there by scanning IDs. Here's a fun trivia note: my husband's grandfather worked at White Sands on radar at the same time that Dad did. They didn't remember each other, but Mom probably scanned his ID from time to time! When I was studying physics, Dad once told me that one of the reasons he went into marketing when he went back to college was because he couldn't really get the hang of physics, haha.

Leon F. Dube Once Saw a UFO!

I kind of love this story. Dad talked to me about it a lot. When he worked at White Sands, he and some friends were driving to work late at night and saw a UFO. Yep! They even got in the local paper. Dad told me that it was blueish/greenish light that hovered. The story that got in the paper was a little different. You can actually still read an excerpt from it, because the newspaper story is quoted on page 96 of an ebook published in 2003 called "The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse  -- UFOS: A History, July-December 1960." You can read it here. The quote is from September 26, 1960:

"Leon Dube, 3719 Edgar Park, reported that he and two companions sighted a green object over the city as they drove toward White Sands Missile Range at a.m. Monday. "He said the bright green object with bright orange tail was visible for approximately 30 seconds and was moving from west to east directly over El Paso."

OK, some people thought it was a meteorite, later some thought ball lightning, and others thought it definitely wasn't natural. In fact, big studies have actually been done about the "Green Fireballs" that appeared in the late 1940s-1960s, especially around places like White Sands. There's a whole Wikipedia page about it here, and Dad saw one of 'em!

He Used the GI Bill to Go Back to School -- And It Wasn't Easy

Dad went back to school thanks to the GI bill and worked all the way up to getting his doctorate in marketing from Texas Tech. That took some major perseverance! Mom said she typed his dissertation for him. The first copy of his dissertation did NOT go well. His review board was super mean to him and tore the dissertation up right in front of him, telling him he had to start over from scratch! He said that was SO tough for him. (Remember, dissertations are hundreds of pages and back then, they were typed!) He had to start over, but he persevered.

He Worked More than 40 Years at TAMUCC and Played a Pivotal Role in the University's Joining the A&M System

Dad worked in Kingsville for a time, before becoming a professor at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. Back then it was called Texas A&I and later CCSU. Dad played a pivotal role in getting the university approved to join the Texas A&M system. He worked more than 40 years at TAMUCC before retiring. Here's what the College of Business wrote in their bio about him:

"Dr. Dube retired from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in August 2015 and was named Professor Emeritus by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in August 2017.  Dr. Dube joined the faculty of Texas A&I University at Corpus Christi as an Associate Professor of Marketing in July 1974.  Dr. Dube earned a DBA with a Marketing Concentration from Texas Tech University in 1973.  Leon Dube was promoted to Professor in 1979 and named as a Regents Professor by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in 2003.  Dr. Dube served as Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing for nearly 20 years until 2012."

Dad LOVED his job and his students loved him too. I glanced at his granddaughter Jennice's Facebook wall the other day and saw some wonderful things written about his time as a professor. His granddaughter Jennice took a lot of classes from him, and here's what she wrote on Facebook:

Grandpa Dube you were so much more than just my grandfather you were my best and favorite professor. You taught me not only so much in college but in life as well. You were truly an amazing man, and showed me the true meaning of love and faith in the Lord. I know you touched the lives of every student you ever taught and they will always remember your classes. Please watch over nana and give her the strength to get through this. I am grateful I got to spend some of your last moments with you as you wait to go to heaven. You will forever be missed I love you grandpa Doc.

Here are a few excerpts from what friends who also took classes from Dad had to say about him:

He was one of my favorite professors."

I loved Doctor Dube! Such a sweet man."

Great professor and a better man."

I loved Dr. Dube!"

He had the most infectious laugh and was such an amazing person."

Reading all those special words about him warms my heart and comforts me.

But Above All, He Was a Wonderful Dad

Gosh, I hate writing "was."  Ugh. That hurts. :( But he was (and in mind always WILL be) the most wonderful dad. Do you know that whenever I had a nightmare when I was a little kid, and I was really scared, Dad would sleep on the floor of my room — even if it was a school night — so I would feel safe? I didn't realize as a kid what a sacrifice that was! I can remember him taking me on an outing once to see a submarine, and then we got ice cream on the way back — I loved our "daddy-daughter day out." He took all of us to the Houston Astros games when I was little. To get to the stadium from the hotel, we'd always walk through a hole that someone cut in a fence. Oh, and Dad always did the grocery runs: even if we forgot something and he had to go back 3 or 4 times in a day, he didn't mind!

Dad was a great father to my brother and sister too, but they will have to tell you their stories. :) He loved all of us fiercely, and he loved his grandchildren soooooo much too. I remember when Mike was in the hospital (I was so young at the time!), while it wasn't clear what would happen to him, Mom and Dad split shifts. One parent was there for 12 hours during the day, and one parent was there for 12 hours at night. That's how I remember it.

Dad always had my back. No matter what I did, or what crazy new ideas I had for business or education, he always backed me up and encouraged me. If he thought I was sad, he had trouble being happy. He was my biggest fan and my biggest advocate. I wanted to write a marketing book with him centered on cats, and that might be my one regret because he would have loved that project... Dad was one in a million. I miss him terribly, and I'm tearing up just writing this. Gosh, I loved him. But at least I was blessed to have a dad so wonderful that I can miss him terribly. I know some people don't ever have that gift.

Wow, I would give anything to have another conversation with him. But you know what? After that conversation was over, I'd be saying the same thing again.

I love you Dad. I miss you with all my heart.

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