Roger “Dodger” DeLeon Jr., 75: Lifelong Norcross resident ‘was a legend’

When Dodger DeLeon was elected for city council in Norcross, he didn’t know it was a paid position — he thought he was just volunteering.

He didn’t use his city councilman’s paycheck on himself: “He always donated that back into the city fund to help people pay for their utilities who couldn’t afford it,” said DeLeon’s stepdaughter Christy Massey, of Cumming.

That’s the kind of person DeLeon was. He always gave to others, said friends and family.

In 1997, after his daughter died from a car accident, DeLeon’s friends began the Norcross car show in her honor, and the proceeds ever since have gone toward scholarships to nursing school students.

And every Christmas Eve, when DeLeon and his wife Liz ate at Waffle House, he would give an extra tip to everyone working that day.

“He was friends with everybody. He never met a stranger,” said Massey. “He was a legend.”

DeLeon was on the Norcross Board of Appeals until the day he died, and he served as Police Commissioner from 1968-1978. Friends and family say he’d been to every Norcross High School football game since 1957, the year he transferred from Maris.

Roger “Dodger” DeLeon Jr., of Norcross, died June 23 from complications due to vascular disease. He was 75. A funeral is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday at Norcross First United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Norcross City Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 3-7 p.m. Saturday at Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory in Duluth, which is in charge of arrangements.

After running a successful lumber business for 15 years, DeLeon went into the vending machine business for 25 years. Family say Double R Vending grew to be the biggest vending business in the Southeast.

DeLeon also played, coached and managed professional softball. Massey said he even went to the softball world series once.

Childhood friend Carl Garner Jr. said DeLeon was the life of the party. “Everybody liked him. I don’t know anybody that didn’t.”

Garner was mayor while DeLeon served on city council. He said DeLeon was “very much a family man, just all around good person. He’ll be missed by this community.”

In addition to his stepdaughter Christy Massey, DeLeon is survived by his wife, Liz Christopher DeLeon of Norcross, son Brandon Dodger DeLeon of Lawrenceville, stepdaughter Tina Wright Turner of Hoschton, and four grandchildren.

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