Suit kept WWII vet from Ohio diploma for decades

LORAIN, Ohio (AP) — A World War II veteran has received his Ohio high school diploma more than seven decades after joining the Navy to avoid graduating because he was embarrassed that he couldn’t afford a $9 suit for the ceremony.

Leonard Puma, of McKeesport, Pa., says not going to 12th grade was his only regret, so he decided to try to get a diploma after retiring. He failed in his first attempt to reach school officials at his old district in Lorain, west of Cleveland, but his daughter followed up and discovered the district was happy to oblige.

Lorain schools Superintendent Tom Tucker tells The Chronicle-Telegram ( in nearby Elyria (eh-LEER’-ee-uh) that such requests have become less frequent.

Lisa Puma says getting the diploma provided some closure for her father.


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