Opa / Grandfather

This page will contain stories, photos and music contributed by Leo's five granchildren. Please visit often as materials are added.

Michael's Tribute To His Opa


Photo of Michael by his grandfather Leo during a day out at the Flying Club

For every pilot, there is a co-pilot who sits on the right and helps with the maps, the readings, the snacks and the cokes, and never fails to laugh at all of his jokes – no matter how many times he tells the same one.

And for my Opa that co-pilot was my dear Oma, Beatrice.

I will always remember the flights Gabrielle and I were lucky to go on with our Opa. Even though we were young, we learned very quickly how free it feels to be high above the ground looking down at how small everything looks.

I’m very grateful for how Opa would spend time with us – whether it was playing chess with Gabrielle, or playing cards with me, or just sitting and talking in a way that you knew you were respected and loved.

These may sound like little things, but they mean a lot.

Opa also loved to tell jokes and always loved hearing jokes and so I’d like to tell him this one.

He sometimes told us about his flying students and how some of them would be nervous but not try to show it. And that sounded a bit like this story of a young flying student who wanted to sound ‘cool’ on the radio.

This was his first time landing at night and instead of making the proper request to the tower, he said “Guess who?” The air traffic controller switched off the runway lights and replied “Guess where!”

In closing I would just like to say that to many of you, Leo Meddens was a great pilot – but more importantly to me he was a great Opa.

And now that he’s way up in the sky flying with a fuel tank that will never read ‘Empty’, it’s our turn to be the co-pilots for Oma as we all stand together to wave up beyond the clouds to wish Opa  an enjoyable flight and to dream of all the wonderful sights he’ll see.

And maybe one day, if we’re lucky, we’ll be out flying and see a flash of sun reflecting off a plane in the distance and swear we can see Opa dipping his wing to wave hello as he continues on his adventure.

I will always love him and will miss him very much.


Gabrielle's Tribute To Her Opa

Adapted from the poem "Impressions of a Pilot" by Gary Claud Stokor


Photo of Gabrielle by her grandfather Leo on a day out at the Flying Club

For my dear Opa, flight was freedom in its purest form,

To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;

To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,

To feel the joy that swells within;

To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,

And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;

Then back to earth at the end of the day,

Released from the worries that melted away.

Now that Opa has left us and is once again in flight,

High above the clouds in the brightest day or darkest night;

Spare him your pity and don’t feel any pain, 

Smile and wave because my Opa is flying again;

I miss him very much and every day it’s hard not to cry,

But deep within my heart it feels better

knowing that my Opa was born to fly.


And for the rest of my days when I hear an airplane above,

I will smile and wave and blow a kiss

to my dear sweet Opa with love.