Leon Stephens
By Gary Romig

Leon Stephens has probably had swallows longer than any other member of the Swallow club. He has had them for over 55 years. He introduced Swallows to many of us in the Southern California area.

On the West Coast, Leon Stephens is one of the most influential breeders of Swallow pigeons. There are many swallow breeders today that purchased or were given Swallows from Leon. He also has been an important teacher of the fine points of Swallows in the show room and the breeding pen. He has made many trips to Germany and visited the top swallow breeders there. He has gained a great deal of knowledge about Swallows and has become our foremost expert on them.

Leon began with pigeons at the young age of 6. At that time he and his family lived in Baldwin Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. It was somewhat rural still and pigeon keeping was an accepted hobby for young boys. His hobby grew and Leon eventually had many different breeds of Pigeons. In the early 1960‘s, as a teenager, Leon was having his first swallows shipped in from the Pennsylvania lofts of Sterling Miller.

His interest in pigeons and other animals led him to a degree in biology in college where Leon leaned much about genetics.

Leon even managed to keep his pigeons during his years in the Army. It was very convenient for him because he was stationed at Ft. Sill Oklahoma which was near where the late Dr. L. E. Hummel lived. Leon made many trips to visit Dr. Hummel and was able to get some swallows from Doc. for the loft in Oklahoma.

After the Army Leon returned to Southern California with his wife, Janet, and their children and many new swallows from Doc. Hummel.

1972 was a memorable year for Leon. He hosted a meeting of the newley formed southern California Color Pigeon Club at his home. In attendance was Werner Zahn of Germany. It was a beautiful afternoon outside in Leon’s yard and Werner was gladly conversing with everyone about Swallows and Color Pigeons.

Werner’s visit to So. Calif resulted in many return visits to Germany by Leon. He first went to Germany with Janet and was given the tour by Werner Zahn and Marcellin Neubauer. Leon returned with some beautiful Swallows and now he has been to Germany and returned with more swallows many times. Leon’s trips have been an inspiration to others in the United Swallow Club. The results of all these trips is that we have many more beautiful swallows in this country and much more knowledge about them.

Leon Stephens - Below his Champion Swallow - 2009 Pageant of Pigeons