Leonard Kato

Obituary of Leonard Lindy Kato

Leonard "Lindy" Kato, 91, a lifelong Jessup resident died Sunday at Geisinger CMC. Born in Peckville he was the son of the late Michael and Anna Kurilla Kato. Leonard was a staunch, proud "old party" Democrat and both Korean War and WW2 veteran who served as a Military Police Officer with two Honorable Discharges. Lenny, nicknamed Perk, for his love of black coffee was also an avid physical fitness buff who excelled in the sport of boxing. He left Jessup High School where he played football for Jessup Leopards. He voluntarily enlisted in the Army during WW2 to serve his country at nearly 16 yrs old. Upon returning home from the service, Len trained for boxing and became Pennsylvania Middleweight Golden Gloves Champion. His combined boxing record was 29 wins 0 losses with 27 knockouts. Months after his WW2 service, he was drafted into the Korean War where he continued his boxing career while stationed in Germany and became the 1949 American Middleweight Champion of the West. While in the Army, he qualified for, and was nominated to the 1952 Olympics in which his next boxing match was to fight Floyd Patterson, the Champion of the East. However, Len would have had to re-enlist for that scheduled bout. He declined to re-enlist in order to go to Alaska with several buddies from Jessup to work on The Alaskan Pipeline and help support his widowed mother. He became a construction worker most of his life and later operated Euclids. During those years he was a Teamster member. Floyd Patterson won the gold medal that year and would eventually become World Heavyweight Champion. Len remained very active in his hometown of Jessup. He and his beloved younger brother Joe partnered and operated the Jessup Teen Center for local youth, later to become Joe's Restaurant. He was also a former Jessup Police Officer and Constable. Leonard is a Founding Member, along with two of his beloved brothers Steve and Mike, of the well-known Jessup Carbino Club which they formed to support and promote youth sports in their hometown of Jessup. Leonard also trained several young aspiring boxers from the area. Leonard is a 58 year member of the American Legion Post 869, Archbald and was the longest living member honored with a plaque. He was also a Lifetime Member of Jessup VFW. Leonard was very opinionated and published multiple editorial newspaper comments with a touch of satire. He would often be seen riding his bike to visit or help out others. Surviving are his former wife Agnes Valvano Kato, Brother Joseph Blackie Kato, children Leonard Kato Jr, Michael Kato and companion Susan Elizabeth Banicky, Jessup, and daughter Michelle Kato Sobeski and husband Carl, Florida. Grandchildren James Santarelli, Jesse Santarelli and wife Heather Fuehrer Santarelli, Jessup, and Leah Kato, Dunmore, Michael Kato Jr, Peckville, and Amanda Kato, North Carolina. Great grandchildren Layla and Jack, Luciana and Contessa, and the youngest James. He also has several nieces and nephews who knew him as Uncle Lindy. Leonard was preceded in death by father Michael Kato, mother Anna Kurilla Kato, brothers Steven Monk Kato, Mike Ta Ta Kato, sisters Marion DiBlasi and Anna Brunori and two younger siblings John and Marion who died as babies. Lenny will always be remembered as a strong man, who took care of and helped many friends and neighbors, his limitless love for his wife, and his support, devotion, love and protection of his children and grandchildren who have always been proud to call him Dad and Poppy. He is their Hometown Hero. The funeral will be held Friday with mass at 9:30 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Peckville. Interment St. John'S Cemetery, Jessup. Friends may call, Thursday from 5 to 7 at the Louis M. Margotta Funeral Home 511 Church St. Jessup. All CDC and social distancing guidelines must be followed. Masks are mandatory. Please visit funeral home website for online condolences.
A Memorial Tree was planted for Leonard
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Margotta Funeral Homes-Jessup
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