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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby

Falling in Love during WWII

My husband's maternal grandparents

In 1941 Velma and Francis met for the first time across from the Dixie Theatre.  Velma was a Senior in high school and Francis was the older man.  Five years later, these two would marry.  However,  not without a few love triangles.

It seems that "France"  had a steady girlfriend while in high school, Rosemond Wood.  However, Rosemond fell in love with a returned missionary and the young heart of Francis  Leany was broken.  He dropped out of high school and headed for work in Las Vegas.  While there, he met Beth Wallace.  They became engaged before Francis headed off to war.  While he was serving in England, Beth fell in love with someone else. With his mind on the war, Francis asked her to wait until his return.

Thankfully, upon his return the chemistry between Beth and Francis had dwindled, and Francis told her to go ahead and marry the other Feller. 

During this time the beautiful Velma Reber from Santa Clara was working in Salt Lake City and turning the heads of the soldiers wherever she went.  Her sparkling personality dazzled these boys.  In fact, when she and Francis were finally reintroduced, she was engaged to someone else.

It seems while Francis was away at war, his brother Marion had likewise met a Reber girl, Velma's sister Dorothy.  The two had married.  It was through the two of them that the lives of Francis and Velma crossed once more... 

In fact it was at the Christmas dance in Hurricane 1945.  In walked in the dashing Francis Leany, a returned Air Force Man.  And boy was he a head turner- Velma fell in love with him that night. It was not longer afterwards that Velma broke her engagement with the other guy.

" Her (Francis) asked me to go to Cedar the next weekend to a party at my Sister Dorothy's home.... I accepted and he and his brother Theron came for me.  We had a great time! On the way home France put his arm around me and I thought I would sink through the floor.  Never had I been so thrilled!  I had gone with a lot of darling men but never had I felt right about them until I started going with France.  he was the one for me.  It seemed God had placed him in my hands.  We dated every night and France proposed to me on the first day of February.  We set the date for April 6th, but were so in love we couldn't wait..."(from the personal history of Francis LeBaron Leany by his wife Velma) 

Velma and Francis were married on February 23, 1946.

In his personal history Francis recounts the following "My life with my sweet heart was a dream come true..."


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