Leon Joslin dies at 100; had hoped to break age-group records

Leon Joslin, RIP

George Mathews shares this sad news: “One of our founding fathers has passed. He was hoping to go for 100 age group records soon. We celebrated his life last month at a fancy birthday party on the edge of Puget Sound in Seattle.” George refers to Leon Joslin, who died Monday without a chance at breaking M100 records in the throws. His son, Tim, sent email with the subject line “End of an era.” Indeed. A 1997 profile did justice to Leon’s legacy: “There aren’t too many like Leon left in the country,” said Ken Weinbel, former USATF masters national chairman.

Here’s the note Tim sent:

Leon Joslin, my Dad, passed away at 5:25am, May 22nd at age 100+. I`m sure he said to himself “I`m out of here!”. He went to join his beloved wife, Betty, who left us in June 2005. As most of you know he competed in throwing events last Summer at age 99.

He was looking forward to breaking the discus record for 100+ but never quite made it! He was from the hard scrabble generation of the 1920`s and 30`s. As a kid ,he delivered papers in the dark predawn hours, walked along railroad tracks looking for pieces of coal that had fallen off coal cars and just basically hustled to help his family survive. His father owned a grocery store in the 30`s and basically gave food away to people who had no money to pay the monthly tab. The store failed due to his generosity.

My Dad treasured his friendship with Former President Gerald Ford  and was proud to have been on the same Ohio State track team with Jesse Owens in 1933. Owens won a bunch of gold medals at the 1935 Berlin Olympics, thoroughly disgusting a guy named Hitler.

My Dad loved the Mariners. He  read the Seattle Times every day and stayed up with current events. One of last questions he asked at the hospital, just hours before passing away was “did we win?”. Yes Dad we beat the Texas Rangers 6-1. I loved you Dad!! 

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May 25, 2012

6 Responses

  1. al cestero - May 26, 2012

    what a legacy…! he certainly lived life to the fullest…may he rest in peace…

  2. Mary Woo - May 26, 2012

    My Grampy passed away when he was not quite 101. He still had a bunch of things on his “to do” list. I like to think his goals kept him going longer than anyone could have hoped- perhaps it was the same for Mr. Joslin. Regardless, let’s not mourn what wasn’t crossed of the list, but celebrate what was! My sincere condolences to Mr. Joslin’s family and friends.

  3. Neni Lewis - May 27, 2012

    He was an inspiration in that he continued to do what he enjoyed doing and not letting age stop him. My sincere condolences to the Joslin family.

  4. chuck chapin - June 16, 2012

    My heart go’s out to the family,this loving guy will be mist. Leon and Russ Carter,were the reason I started track at a old age seeing them do it gave me a reason to show what I could do. I told them that I would never break any of there records,if I live that long. may they rest in peace ,they were the true lord of the rings.

  5. Alice-Marie Ford - June 30, 2012

    My mother, Eglantine Lucy Marsh Ford, went to school with Leon Joslin and corresponded with him. He told her that he was best friends with her brother, Edwin Marsh. Mama lives with me now and wonders if there is an address that she can write to Leon’s son? Mama will be 99 this year and graduated with Jerry Ford (she married a different Ford!) from South High School in 1931. Mama would be so pleased to be able to write a note to Tim Joslin.

  6. Kwame S. Turner - June 10, 2014

    Leon is great. We enjoy watching him compete in the shot put with his younger nemesis, Fordie (4/1914), on the archived KOMO TV 4 – ERIC’S “LITTLE” HEROES. On the June 2011 episode those two “compete” with a Cutie that keeps trying to beat them by illegally throwing the shot underhanded. I hope Tim gets to set the 100+
    discus record for the Joslins, he’s got the right genes.

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