Walter P. Leber


Walter P. Leber was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 12, 1918, the son of Walter and Bonnie Vera Leber. He graduated from the Missouri School of Mines in 1940; graduated Master in Business Administration from George Washington University in 1951 and graduated Command and General Staff College in 1956. In 1950, he married Bernice Jean Palus.

Leber served as Petroleum engineer at Stranolind Oil Gas Company from 1940 to 1941; was commissioned second lieutenant United States Army in 1941; advanced through grades to Major General in 1967. Was assigned to the Office Chief Engineer and advanced Secretary of Communication Zone, European Theater of Operation from 1942 to 1946.

He was appointed at the Manhattan Engineer District at Oak Ridge, from 1946 to 1947; assigned Chief of Technical Division of Military Liaison Command from 1947 to 1949; assistant district engineer of the Executive Officer at Seattle and Walla Walla district from 1949 to 1950; assigned general staff of logistics Department of the Army from 1951 to 1955; and was engineer of the 8th U.S. Army in Korea, from 1956 to 1957.

Leber was appointed executive officer of the Office of the Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1961. Leber was Lieutenant Governor of the Panama Canal Company from 1961 to 1963; assigned division engineer of the Army Engineer Division in Ohio River from 1963 to 1966; and was director of civil engineering at the Office of Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army in Washington from 1966 to 1967.

In 1963, Leber was promoted to Brigadier General, and then appointed Governor of the Panama Canal Zone on February 21, 1967. He served in that position until March 2, 1971. He was the only Governor of the Panama Canal Zone not graduated from the West Point Academy.

Under his tenure the studies of the Interoceanic Canal were initiated in 1970 to determine the feasibility for the construction of a sea-level canal; and the completion of the Gaillard Cut widening program in 1970 marked the end of a major improvement project designed to provide safer transit through the Canal.

After his term as Governor, Leber went to United State Safeguard anti-ballistic missile system in Washington, D.C.

Leber was decorated with the Legion Merit with 2 oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star medal, Army Commendation with oak leaf cluster, Order British Empire, and L’Orde de Leopold II (Belgium).