Machine looks to cool off streaking Rattlers

June 17, 2011

Leon Marshall (Mac) McCorkle, 96, Marion County businessman and civic leader from 1948 through 1964, died Feb. 2, 2011, suddenly and unexpectedly at home.

While a resident of Waldo and later Marion, Mac was principal owner of country grain and feed businesses in Marion and adjacent counties and served as an original member of the Marion General Hospital Board of Governors, as a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners, as vice president and finance chair of the Harding Area Boy Scout Council and as a member of Rotary International. He served as chair and treasurer of the board of trustees of the Waldo Methodist Church, was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and was an active member of the Marion First Presbyterian Church.

Born Aug. 17, 1914, in Howard County, Mo., Mac was reared in Clifton Hill and Columbia, Mo., and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri. The Alumni Association of the University of Missouri, in 1976, presented him with its Citation of Merit for outstanding achievement and meritorious service in agriculture in the United States and Brazil. In 1938, Mac began both a professional life devoted to agribusiness and an association with Ralston Purina Company which would ultimately take him to Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

An ROTC Honor Cadet at University of Missouri, Army 2nd Lieutenant McCorkle was called to active duty in 1941, served in the Pacific Theater of Operations with the 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, and advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel before his release from active duty in 1945. He returned immediately to sales work with Purina in Marietta and Upper Sandusky before purchasing an interest in what later became the Waldo Supply Company.

Mac was chief operating officer and major stockholder in six independent grain and feed businesses in north central Ohio when these were purchased by Landmark Farm Bureau in 1960. He was a director of the Ohio Grain & Feed Dealers Association and served four terms as a director of the National Grain & Feed Dealers Association.

In 1964, Mac accepted Purina’s offer to open operations in Brazil. Through 1970, Mac was with Purina International, first as founder and country manager of Purina’’s Brazilian subsidiary and later as its regional manager for Argentina, Brazil and Chile. He and his wife Mary-Cate studied Portuguese briefly before moving to Brazil. Mac was often the only member of his organization to whom English was a first language —and both continued to study and speak Portuguese throughout the remainder of their lives. For part of this period, Mac owned and operated Fazenda São Sebastiaõ, a 1,730-acre plantation in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. From 1972-77, Mac was country manager, Brazil, for Central Soya Company. He and his wife, Célia Da Silva McCorkle, resided in Greensboro, N.C., from 1978.

In 1939, Mac married Mary Catherine Carrington of Ventnor, N.J. During their Marion County years, Mary-Cate was active in church, school and civil affairs, and served as editor of the weekly Prospect Monitor. She died in 1974. Mac was also preceded in death by a son, William Carrington McCorkle in 1957.

Mac is survived by his wife, Célia, of Greensboro, N.C.; four children, Leon Marshall (Diane) McCorkle, Jr. of Dublin and Southport, N.C., Lucinda Ann (Clyde) Allison of Centerville, Sam Batton (Lesley) McCorkle of Des Peres, Mo., and Michael Walton (Corinne) McCorkle of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; grandchildren, Catherine Rengert McCorkle (Jeffrey) Shapiro, Molly Carrington McCorkle (Benjamin) Rule, John Marshall McCorkle, Melissa Diane Allison (David) Turim, William Leon Allison, Mary Elizabeth McCorkle (Scott) Nilsen, Megan Emily (Jeremy Bade, fiancé) McCorkle, Matthew Kenneth McCorkle, Alexander Michael McCorkle and Christopher James McCorkle; four great-grandchildren, Joshua Louis Shapiro, Andrew Jacob Shapiro, Miriam Elizabeth Rule and Jonathan Curtis Rule. Mac’s Facs, his autobiography, was published privately in 1995.

February memorial services were held in Greensboro and included Masonic participation by members of Mac’s home Lodge. A 10 a.m. memorial service in celebration of Mac’s life will be held at Waldo Methodist Church on Saturday, June 25. Interment with military honors will follow immediately in Waldo Cemetery.

If desired, in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice or to the Waldo Methodist Church, 141 S. Main St., Waldo, OH 43356.