Leon J. Arp, a professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, died on July 23, 2021. He was born June 30, 1930, in Norway, Iowa, to Hugo and Leova (Schmidt) Arp, the eldest of five children.

After graduating from Walford High School in 1948, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force, working in air reconnaissance at Itazuke Air Base in Japan during the Korean War.

Arp earned his Ph.D. from Iowa State University, Ames, and served as a researcher, instructor, and innovator in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg from 1966 to 1991, when he was granted the title of professor emeritus.

An avid inventor and holder of more than 25 patents, his signature innovation was an infant respirator inspired by his infant son’s struggle with respiratory distress syndrome. He was also instrumental in an effort to raise giant sequoias in Montgomery County.

Arp was preceded in death by a son, William. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Kathleen; his children, Nicholas, John, and Joseph; eight grandchildren; and one great granddaughter. He is also survived by four siblings: Mrs. Joseph Tuttle of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Kenneth Arp of Amana, Iowa; Regis Arp of Fairfax, Iowa; and Allen Arp of Palo, Iowa.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, Aug. 3, from 10:15 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. A funeral mass will follow at the church with Father John Asare officiating. Private burial will be at Westview Cemetery. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.

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