Leon Ukens - Passed away on July 23, 2022

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Leon Ukens
  • Passed away on July 23, 2022

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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.

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  1. Tracey F says:
    11 Sep 2022
    As a student at Towson State University in the 1980s, Dr. Ukens accepted nothing less than my personal best. He never accepted, "I'm ok with a 'C' in my Science courses for Education majors. And although I think I genuinely hated going into the Glen for Science activities, they, and conducting Science Lessons under his guidance for the students at Lida Lee Tall, are some of the most memorable experiences that I had at TSU. I learned some great new "non-teacher words" out in the Glen. He is one of the reasons that I continue to push my students in public education, more than 30 years later, to continue to dig deeper and push harder than they thought they could. Although Science was never a great passion of mine, I fondly remember his enthusiasm and how he seemed to be happy connecting it to real world phenomena. His passion inspired me to always stay true to mine and to inspire my students to find theirs and make connections to the world that they live in through learning and asking questions. My sincerest condolences on the loss of your loved one. So sorry for your loss. Just wanted you all to know how much he meant to people like myself who hold him high in their hearts for his commitment to educating those who were passionate about educating others.

  2. Sue & Rich Burgtorf lit a candle:
    03 Aug 2022
    Lit since August 3, 2022 at 8:22:05 PM

  3. Sue & Rich Burgtorf lit a candle:
    03 Aug 2022
    Lit since August 3, 2022 at 8:21:30 PM

  4. Sue & Rich Burgtorf lit a candle:
    03 Aug 2022
    Lit since August 3, 2022 at 8:20:40 PM

  5. jeanne von dohre lit a candle:
    28 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 28, 2022 at 7:42:27 PM

  6. Gary & Wilena lit a candle:
    28 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 28, 2022 at 7:16:59 PM

  7. Jeri Fiset says:
    27 Jul 2022
    Leon, you will be missed by many here in the Plantation. I so enjoyed our "chats" whether they be about football, politics, science or favorite tv shows and movies. You and Lorraine were such good friends and Paul and I certainly enjoyed our little bit of traveling with you. Good memories there especially St Andrews that you and Paul went to. Dont worry about Lorraine, she will be well taken care of here. Miss you buddy.

  8. Wally and Karen Gunter lit a candle:
    27 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 27, 2022 at 7:52:24 AM

  9. Cheryl Frederick lit a candle:
    26 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 26, 2022 at 7:19:05 PM

  10. Rich and Peggi Wilkinson lit a candle:
    26 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 26, 2022 at 7:00:28 PM

  11. Gloria Griffin lit a candle:
    26 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 26, 2022 at 7:51:39 AM

  12. David and Arlesa Lebron says:
    26 Jul 2022
    Our deepest condolences on the loss of Mr. Ukens.

  13. Barry pincus lit a candle:
    26 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 26, 2022 at 7:59:44 AM

  14. Barry pincus lit a candle:
    26 Jul 2022
    Lit since July 26, 2022 at 7:58:42 AM

  15. Barry pincus says:
    26 Jul 2022
    Leon may you rest in Peace I will miss the times we played cards together !!!!!!!!! My heart goes out to your family!!!!!!!Good bye my friend.
    To his family Leon was recognized as a fine loving man and a great neighbor :)

  16. Dick Vlaha says:
    25 Jul 2022
    Leon you went to Heaven on Pat’s birthday. I’m sure she was there to welcome you and to reminisce about all the football pools you organized and that everyone enjoyed. You will always be missed but never forgotten.

    Dick Vlaha

  17. Paul R. Fiset says:
    25 Jul 2022
    We moved in the Plantation shortly after the Ukens in 2005. Living in the same neighborhood, Laurel Valley, Leo(as I so dearly called him) opened his arms and invited me to Sunday golf better-known as THE WILSON GROUP . That was the beginning of a lasting friendship I will never forget. In riding with him most of the time I was the proud recipient of some wonderful and sometimes unusual “pearls of wisdom” God Bless and wait for me at the HEAVENLY 19th HOLE! I will miss you dearly.

  18. Judith king says:
    25 Jul 2022
    Wow.....a life well lived! Russ and I will be praying for you, Lorraine, and the family as you grieve Leon's passing, but you have wonderful memories of your years together. God bless you all and thank you for sharing the beautifully written obituary with us.

    Russ and Judy King

  19. Laura Ukens says:
    25 Jul 2022
    Your acceptance and welcoming of me and Logan into the family meant the world to me. I will miss your clever sense of humor and sarcasm (that reminds me so much of Jeff). I love you and will miss you greatly.

  20. Jeffrey says:
    25 Jul 2022
    Dad, I miss you so much already. Yours was a life well lived and serves as a source of inspiration for me. I love you. Jeff.

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