Frank W. Leyva, age 88, died peacefully in his sleep at his Morgan Hill home on Wednesday, February 23, 2011.
He had been suffering from cancer for a number of years.
A native Californian, Frank “Paco” was born June 25, 1922, in Madrone (now Morgan Hill). He attended Burnett Elementary School, graduated from San Jose High School and from San Jose State College with a degree in police sciences. W.W.II interrupted his studies at San Jose State, and he enlisted and served as a combat infantry lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, assigned to the Pacific theater. Upon his discharge, and while completing his degree at San Jose State, he served as a deputy sheriff in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department. In 1950, he was recruited by the United States Secret Service, and rejoined his country’s service as a commissioned USSS Special Agent. His duties included protecting Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.
After his promotion to Special-Agent-in-Charge (SAIC) he led USSS Field Offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Diego, CA, San Antonio, TX and Louisville, KY. His most challenging posting was as SAIC at the US Embassy in Paris, France, charged with the security of the diplomats involved in the Paris Peace Talks that ended the Vietnam War, meanwhile protecting US currency against the Soviet Union’s concerted counterfeiting operations in western Europe in the 70’s.
He retired in 1976 and returned to California after serving 3 years in the USMC and 26 in the USSS. Following this retirement, Frank settled his family in Sonoma, CA where he worked for the Sonoma County Welfare Department as a fraud investigator. He became involved in the local Kiwanis Club and served as President as well as a member of both the Sons In Retirement (SIRs) and the Good Sam RV Club. With his children grown, he and his wife, Mary Ellen (Pert) remained in Sonoma but traveled throughout the country and Mexico in their RV, until her death.
In 2009, Frank married Jean Pinard, a native and long time resident of Morgan Hill, and he lived there with her until his death. Thus, life’s circle brought him back home and his life ended in the place of his birth 88 years earlier.
F rank, predeceased by wife, Mary Ellen, leaves behind his wife Jean Pinard, his brothers Dick Leyva of Rio Vista, CA, David Leyva of San Jose, CA and sister Connie Karnes of San Jose, CA. He was preceded in death by his sister, Jesse Soliz of Seaside, CA. He is survived by children Mark Leyva of Sonora, CA; Clark Leyva of San Jose, CA; Michael Leyva of Berlin, Germany; Malena Leyva Alioto of San Francisco, CA; John Leyva of Davis, CA; stepdaughter Yolanda Records of San Jose, CA and Jean’s children, Scott Patterson of Santa Cruz, CA and Cary Pinard of Portland, OR. He is also survived by grandchildren William Leyva, Amy Leyva, Walter Leyva, Ximenez Leyva, and Frankie Alioto.
He will be dearly missed, and remembered, by his large, robust, loving family and by all who knew him.
Plans for a graveside memorial service and celebration of life in Sonoma, CA, are pending. Donations in Frank’s memory may be made to Learning and Loving Education Center, 16890 Church St. #16, Morgan Hill, CA 95037 – www.learningandloving.org.