Monday, March 28, 2011

Passing of Leon Lanzbom

Leon Lanzbom may have been the first graduate student to specialize in children's literature. He passed away March 25, 2011.

Leon Lanzbom was a delight to know, always curious, always active, always generous with his time, talents, and creativity.

He was a presence in the English/CompLit Dept. for many years and in many roles-- MA student in Children's Literature, grad assistant, MFA student, and teacher as well. He was a friend to many of us and a special friend for me as we shared cultural roots.

I will miss him and his big beautiful smile.--Alida Allison

Another tribute, from Bill Nericcio, can be found at:


  1. Professor Allison--Thanks for posting this. Leon was a great guy, "one of the good guys," we might say. Leon was my student at Mesa, at which time we became friends. After completing his studies at SDSU, he returned to Mesa as an adjunct professor in English (a great personal joy for me). Not just an adjunct though--he was a top tier professor. I still can't believe he's gone. Everyone who knew him will feel the void he's left for a long time to come.
    Ron Israel
    English/Humanities Dept.
    San Diego Mesa College

  2. I only knew Leon in those short exhanges that adjunct teachers have as we rush from class to class, between campus to campus, which is in fact very much what Leon was doing when he passed. I remember how, when given one of the more challenging tasks of keeping up enrollment for a Saturday morning class at Mesa College, Leon would go out of his way to distrubute fliers he himself made all around campus to get people to come. He never, in all the years he taught the class, ever had an enrollement problem. He was clearly appreciated by students and the faculty that knew him alike. Even in his final days, despite serious heart issues, he would sit out in the square not ten steps away from the classroom he taught in at Southwestern, and meet with students. This is where I saw him in fact last Wednesday. He at the time told me some of his troubles, but then in turn responded, "My trick is if I can just move three or four steps between sitting, then I'm OK." He wasn't talking here about simply walking, but what he most loved doing, which was teaching.

    Wherever you are Leon, I hope you're walking just fine.

    Geoff Johnson
    English/humanities Adjunct
    San Diego Mesa
    Southwestern College

  3. To Leon with much love:

    I never had the chance to meet you in person, but this semester I'm enrolled in Engl 220, Intro to Literature, online. Your personality and warmth was felt and seen through the words you wrote to us, your class. I am so very sorry and I know that the rest of your students everywhere share my sentiments.
    I wish you peace and happiness where ever you may be,
    and I send my regards, love, and hope to your loved ones.

    Thank You Leon

    -Anamaria, student at SWC

  4. Thank you Leon for your kindness during my stay in San Diego. You were always willing to give me advice and encouragement, and you were one of the only people to make me feel comfortable in the program. You are missed.

  5. Leon and I had an online friendship for many years. We would reconnect every few months, tease about getting together in person then go back to reality. Leon was an open hearted, loving, sweet man who adored his sons and ex-wife. I am deeply saddened by his death and will miss him. I'm going to start living now --he would want me to. Cheers, LL.