Leon Lynn Ukens, 80, passed away peacefully on July 23, 2022 at his home in The Plantation at Leesburg in Florida, after a rapid decline from Multiple System Atrophy. He was born on October 4, 1941 in Stafford County, Kansas to Alvin and Helen Ukens of Hudson, Kansas.
Leon is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Lorraine Ukens, his son Dr. Jeffrey Ukens and wife Laura, his stepdaughter Kristina Lambdin and partner Nicholas Freeman, his grandson Zachary Ukens and wife Mary, and great-grandchildren Megan and Gideon. He was formerly married to Carol Ukens, the mother of his son.
Leon grew up on a farm as an only child, surrounded by close family and lifelong friends. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1959 and received his B.S. degree from Fort Hays University in 1963. He then taught science at Goddard High School in Kansas. Leon moved to Greeley, Colorado and taught at John Evans Middle School while attending the University of Northern Colorado. He graduated with a masters degree in 1969 and moved to New York City.He earned his Ph.D. in Science Education from NYU in 1972. Leon relocated to Baltimore, Maryland and was a Professor for 34 years at Towson University in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences. Leon retired in August 2005, then he and Lorraine headed south to their new home in central Florida.
Leon was an avid sports fan, but golf was his passion. A treasured moment was when he scored a hole-in-one on the 17th hole of Sawgrass (TPC), known as the island green. He and Lorraine also loved to travel, and they visited much of the U.S. as well as 63 foreign countries. His favorite trip was to Antarctica, where the stark natural beauty spoke to his science and geology background.
No services will be held after cremation, and a separate Celebration of Life will be held in both Maryland and Florida at a later date. Donations to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research can be made in his memory.