At a recent arts awards meeting, Leland Mebine was seated next to a boy around four years old. It was one of those events where grownups drone on for hours and days and weeks. To relieve the boredom, the boy silently built a throne of hymn books on his pew that, by the last award, had truly impressive height and enabled him to see between the grownup heads blocking his view. Upon leaving, Leland, now 97, gravely shook the youngster's hand. Leland respects creativity and, anyway, may have slipped him a hymnbook or two. The boy solemnly shook back. Not every day, do you shake hands with somebody who worked as a biochemist for NASA and became Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, the civilian equivalent to a 3-star general.
Leland and his wife Mary were avid supporters of the Symphony. Mary served as Chair of the Symphony's board and was a dynamic fundraiser. Leland is no longer an active volunteer. "When I became 90," he says, "I gave up all my positions because I thought younger people should have the opportunity to do these things."
He still attends Lewisville Lake Symphony performances, paints with what is now 30 years of post-retirement experience, is an agile correspondent via Facebook and Skype and three mornings a week goes to the Y to exercise.