Our beloved Leo died peacefully on November 21, 2021, nearly two months after celebrating his 100th birthday. He was predeceased by his dear wife, Erika, with whom he shared 73 years of marriage. He leaves behind daughter Marie (Bill, dec.); son Toivo; granddaughter Marni; grandsons Erik (Rebecca), Mike (Jennifer), and Matti (Livia); great-grandsons Lukas and Jack; great-granddaughter Nella; and extended family in Canada, Estonia, and Australia.
Leo was born in Valga, Estonia, in September 1921 to Jaan and Liine Allas. On many occasions Leo recounted instances of God guiding him and his loved ones toward positive paths, turning bad situations to happy ones and even saving his life – instances he considered miracles. Displaced from his beloved Estonia during WWII, Leo led his family on a harrowing escape – a journey that took them to Germany, where Leo received his education in engineering; and then to Australia to work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, embarking on a long career as a professional civil engineer specializing in hydro-electric power, particularly the construction of hydro-electric dams and substations. From Australia, Leo’s engineering career took him to Vancouver, Canada, to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he and Erika spent 23 years and he was proud to serve as Honorary Canadian Consul; and then back to Vancouver to retire. Leo’s accomplishments included serving as project manager on the initial design team of the unique Gardiner Dam and Coteau Creek Power Plant in Saskatchewan and, later, growing his Brazilian design company, Leme Engenharia, to employ over 1000 people while working on numerous engineering projects in Brazil and around the world. Leo was always grateful to all the friends and colleagues he made during his career and travels.
A proud Rotarian, Leo devoted a great deal of time assisting with sending aid shipments abroad and other humanitarian efforts. Leo was humbled by the numerous awards he received from Rotary and Brazil for his volunteerism and engineering work.
At the age of 80, Leo started writing about his life extensively, publishing Story of an Ordinary Man and other extraordinary memoirs. Leo also loved cooking family dinners every Saturday, and spending time with his family and friends.
A special thank you to Amica West Vancouver and their caring staff, and to Pastor Andres Rebane for his spiritual guidance. A memorial service will be held in the New Year.