Veteran of the Month: Bill McGeehan and Leon Brantley

We thank you both for your service!!!

Bill McGeehan was born in 1940 while his family lived on the 1400 block of Front Street.  He attended St. Michael’s grade school and went to Northeast Catholic high school, graduating in 1959.

That same year he enlisted in the Air Force and was trained in Technical Reconnaissance and assigned to Westover Air Force Base.  He was there through the Cuban Missile Crisis and released from active duty in 1963. He joined the Philadelphia Police Department.

He married Marge and they settled in Frankford. They have been married now for 52 years and together, they have 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

After 5 years with the Police Department, he left and went on the road, driving trucks in delivery service and then construction.  He retired in 1989 and has been busy since volunteering his time with various charitable groups, his church (St. Joachim) and now, Keep the Faith in Frankford.

He is an outdoors man who never misses deer season or the chance to catch a fish.


Leon Brantley was born in 1949 and grew up in Frankford and Tacony.  He went to Hamilton-Disston Elementary School and Lincoln High School.  In January of 1967 he enlisted in the Army and went to Basic Training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.  After basic training, he went to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii with the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery as a base piece gunner.  He served in Vietnam with the 23rd Infantry Division Americal from December of 1967 until November of 1968. He survived the Tet offensive.  He was separated from active duty in 1970 and was honorably discharged in 1973 and is now U.S. Army retired.

He has been married and is a father, grandfather and great grandfather. He has had several careers, among them, working for General Tire in Waco, Texas, the City of Philadelphia, the Naval Depot and the Postal Service and is now retired.

He has been active in the Frankford community serving with the Frankford Plan in the 1990s.  He has helped many veterans with his knowledge of veterans’ benefits and disability issues. He is a born story teller and one of the primary advocates for the history of the African-American presence in Northeast Philadelphia.