BoomerBoomer & Lee Foote
Leland Frederick Foote, 56, long-time resident of Mesa, Arizona died peacefully at home on January 5, 2011 after a long battle with complications related to Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.
He was born October 1, 1954 in Riverdale, Maryland, the youngest son of Jewett Jerome Foote and Fannie “Pearl” Parcell Foote. He was raised in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania a where he graduated High School from Central Columbia. He attended Penn State and majored in Aerospace Engineering. During his time at Penn State he was president of Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, Chairman of the inter-fraternity Hershey Dance Marathon, Rush Chairman, and held a number of other offices. He began his career in the Aerospace Industry in 1978 as an intern for Hughes Helicopters in Culver City, California. From 1982-1985 he was employed by the LOM Corporation in Traverse City, Michigan and in 1985 he accepted a position with McDonnell Douglas in Culver City, California. In 1987 he transferred to Mesa, Arizona with Hughes Helicopters where he stayed through the merger with McDonnell Douglas, later to become The Boeing Company. He was instrumental in the NASA Ames Wind Tunnel testing of the Apache Helicopter and was a highly regarded test engineer in the Rotorcraft fatigue and structural testing field. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Jewett and Pearl Foote; his brother, Jay Foote; his loyal Service Dog, Boomer. He is survived in life by his wife, Tracey Lynn Hainsworth Foote; his children, Nathaniel Lee Foote, Hannah Rebecca Foote; his step-son, Jacob Cecil Swisher; his sister, Caroline Rebecca Foote Broadt of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. He was a man of many interests, which included: horseback riding in the Superstition Mountains, dog training, collecting various antiquities, and entertaining his family and friends with his many creative insights and imaginative stories! He was a man of great courage, perseverance, strength, determination, intelligence, humility, humor and great wit. He was a very private man, a good man, and he led a good life. His treasured legacy is to be found in his character and the family he leaves behind. We celebrate his spirit and are dedicated to nurturing his precious and much loved descendants.
*Note from Fredericka:
“To all those who have followed Lee and Boomer on our website; this was the last email we got from Lee followed by our reply.”
Our last reply to Lee
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010
Subject: Re: AM pups
Lee – We are so very sad. Tears are running down my cheeks as I type. We are all praying for you and your family. Is there anything that we can do for you or your family? Please do not hesitate to ask. Words cannot express the love we have for you and your family. You are an inspiration to so many.
When you have the pictorial memory of Boomer done, please forward and we will post on site.
God Bless – Fredericka and Lucy
Sent: Saturday, December 25, 2010
Subject: Re: AM pups
My good friends Fredericka and Lucy,
My time has come like Boomer’s. I think it’s poetic. My disorder is very rare, but I’m certain that he (and you ) gave me two extra years of life. They were two very difficult years from the standpoint of the physical misery of my condition, but Boomer and I together overcame many of those limitations and drew a large crowd of admirers. He’s FWF’s best boy. We had a Christmas Eve Dinner tonight and many family and friends asked if we would be putting together a pictorial memory of his life. So many people want one that we agreed. The reason for our dinner was to eventually let our close friends and family know that my wife Tracey and I have transferred my medical care to Hospice.
All my love, Lee
Note from Fredericka:
I hope all those reading this post will say a prayer for the full recovery of good health for Boomer’s owner. Lee, is a good soul, and we all know that “With God nothing shall be impossible.” While you are praying ask God to bless Lee’s family and Boomer too. He is a great dog. (maybe even an angel in disguise?)
Sent: Sunday, January 24, 2010
Subject: Re: How are you?
You are so kind to inquire, and I’m so thrilled to hear from you!
Our family is wonderful (I don’t know how I deserve all their love), and I’m struggling a lot but hanging in there thanks to a benevolent Lord. Why is it that he/she at times seems to look after the unworthy like me rather than people that we know in need and warrent attention? I guess that’s always been the great mystery, far beyond our ability of understanding. We’re sure glad that he put you on this Earth, and we pray that you and your family are well. I imagine that you’ve touched the lives of thousands of families just like ours, and they think of you often with fondness as we do.
Boomer is a true blessing as you know. We get so many questions in public that we wonder if you get any calls or stories. I’ve never seen anything that creates smiles on human faces more than the sight of Boomer. God blessed me with a terminal disorder, linked me to an Angel (you) that breeds Angels (Boomers), and set me loose. I can say that because I visited a co-worker in a Scottsdale Hospital on Friday. He had a stroke last Sunday, paralyzing the right side of his face, and leaving him speechless and somewhat unresponsive. His friends were wondering if he could recognize them. When Boomer and I walked in he room and walked up to the bed, his eyes sparkled, there was an undoubtable smile, and he ‘mouthed’ “Boomer”. I knew in that moment that he would be OK.
So… How am I? I’m at the crossroads of the worst times and the best times of my life. I can readily accept the bad because when it happens God sends me the best, like you and Boomer.
I’ve attached a photo taken yesterday with me on oxygen surrounded by the family that you’ve been a big part of supporting. My wife Tracey took the photo, so we’ll get her in the next one. She may be too beautiful for the camera to capture.
Your room here is ready any time.
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Subject: Re: Boomer
Everything is WONDERFUL here. I wanted you to know that Boomer is touring the White House Friday morning. I’ll let you know how it turned out when we return in two weeks.
Lee & Boomer S.D.
Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008
Subject: Re: Boomer S.D.
I know that I don’t have to tell you what it’s like to sit comfortably, look them in the eyes, and thank them for their compassion. That big boy comes up and lets you know he wants his chest scratched for a long time, and you do so while watching his the satisfaction mirrored in is face. You slide down to the floor in front of your favorite chair. He nestles up to your right side and you watch TV while enjoying his huge warmth and scratching him to his delight.
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008
Subject: Re: Boomer S.D.
Lee, this brought me to tears. We are praying for you, that God heals you and you live a very very long time; I think Boomer is more than a dog, I really think he is an angel. Angels can take any form. God sent Boomer to you.
Love and prayers,
Your Sister in Christ,
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008
Subject: Boomer S.D.
I wanted to share with you that I have been going to Mesa Arizona’s Banner Baywood Hospital for quite some time for weekly infusions of a drug called Aralast, in hopes of keeping me alive. I think you know that. We go every Monday morning.
Boomer carries my O2, as you know, and is the perfect gentleman and companion. The few Monday morning ATU regular patients say hello to Boomer, while the greater group of folks in the lobby watch in awe.
I recently arrived at the hospital alone. Boomer had a few days of an upset stomach, which turned out to be fine. I then traveled without my best friend.
I’d like to share with you that I was recognized by so many people not for myself, but for the lack of my companion. EVERYONE that knew Boomer came and asked me if he was OK, or if there was anything they could do. I assured them that he was fine, but at that moment I realized that in my travels, through third party discussions or rumors, many people new Boomer’s name, but not mine.
You bring specialty into the world when a man passes on and the overwhelming question is ‘who gets the dog?’ That’s not true in my case because my wife and children could never part with their best friend.
For all of us that have a fulfillment in our lives that we wouldn’t have but for your efforts, our sincere thanks. If you ever need help, I could only wish that Boomer was at your side in a second. I think you know how I must feel that he is beside me, at home or in public, 24/7.
He is awesome, and my best friend.
Boomer visits Alcatraz
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008
Subject: An update on Boomer who turned three on May 30th.
I wanted to let you know that Boomer has helped to extend my life. If you don’t remember. I have a terminal genetic lung disease and Boomer has been carrying my oxygen tanks wherever we go for quite some time now. We are inseparable. Defying all advice, my wife and I took our two young children on a vacation to San Francisco last week. Of course I don’t go ANYWHERE without Boomer. US Airways was kind enough to grant Boomer and I 3 seats in the coach bulkhead row, charging me for only my seat. That gave us plenty of room. It was Boomer’s first flight since our Aunt brought him to Arizona at 9 weeks old. He did fine. We boarded the plane last. I wish I had a picture of the first class passenger’s faces as he walked down the aisle. The pilot’s came out of the cockpit before we exited to make a point of meeting him.
My oxygen supply company had twelve M6 tanks (Boomer carries two at a time) waiting in our hotel room at Fisherman’s Wharf. The weather was nice and cool, and we could walk to most attractions. Boomer enjoyed the Bay Aquarium, the pier restaurants, and the ferry ride to Alcatraz for a three hour tour.
I think I sent you a photo of Boomer and the dwarf Dopey at Disneyland in December,. I’m attaching a photo of Boomer and I at Alcatraz last week.
Second to my family, you’ve provided me with the best friend that I’ve ever had. Most people nowadays with what they call ‘service dogs’ are inexperienced, untrained, and don’t leave home because they aren’t comfortable in handling their animals in public, no matter the size. The animal stays home as comfort to them. I still work full time as a senior manager at Boeing. Boomer is with me always, and now at 190 pounds, could never be physically controlled by any individual in my state of health, or should need to be. That’s the breeding and training. The breeding has certainly proven to be fantastic, because the training has been so straight-forward.
I’m attaching a photo of Boomer and I at Alcatraz. If you’ve never been there, it’s a wonderful tour. It makes me wonder how many places that the fine animals that you breed have been before you? I think that a breeder such as yourself should consider those thoughts as a great testimonial to your accomplishments.
I, my family, and my loved ones, will never be able to express our sincere thanks for our Boomer.
Boomer visits Disney
It was Friday, Boomer’s second day in the park and a beautiful morning. My wife Tracey, Nate (9), and Hannah (7) left the hotel 2 hours before us. Boomer and I entered California Adventure and I called Tracey. She said to meet them at the Tower of Terror Hotel. No problem. On the way we met Pluto. Asked one of the park photog’s to take a picture of Pluto and Boomer. Pluto took one look and ran, leaving a trail of pee as he went. I think those guys in those costumes are deaf mutes, because there wasn’t a sound. Got to the tower of terror. Up walks one of the seven dwarfs, with many, many people watching. Boomer is wearing the O2 vest clearly marked ‘DO NOT PET’. The dwarf reaches out to pet Boomer. Boomer recedes as a good service dog would. The dwarf persists, reaching forward to pet Boomer. The dwarf pets Boomer and turns to wave to the crowd who are all going Ooh and Aah, enjoying the perceived bonding. Boomer head-butted the dwarf in the ass! I quickly explained that the vest was clearly marked ‘DO NOT PET’, and asked if that is why his name was ‘DOPEY’? The crowd roared. I still think those guys in those costumes are deaf mutes, because their wasn’t a sound.
I hope you remember me. My ‘Boomer’ is a fawn male fluffy born at FWF May 30, 2005. He’s my service dog and carries two O2 bottles. He is the delight of my wife and I and three children. At 2 and 1/2 he’s now in the one seventies weight range, and both lean and agile. When we go to the vet for check-ups, they don’t want to give him back. When we drop him off at the groomer’s, they don’t want to give him back. I still work full time at Boeing Rotorcraft in Mesa Az, and believe that Boomer is the only dog with a badge to enter a Boeing facility worldwide. (Boeing employs about 140,000 people internationally). Boomer’s reputation on the Mesa campus is becoming a thing of immense pride to me, to Boomer, and to our co-workers who look forward to seeing him working every day.