Leonard Russell Phipps, 86, passed away at Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte, April 18, 2013, following a short illness. He was born Feb. 26, 1927, the oldest of three sons born to Russell and Elva LeLaCheur Phipps.
He attended grade school in rural Cherry County. He attended Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, which required living there during the school year, graduating in 1944.
Leonard married Ferrissa Mae Malcolm of Montgomery, N.Y., on June 8, 1949. Three children were born to this union.
Being raised during the depression, he learned to make do, always looking for a better way. The ranch raised registered herefords and in an era when most ranchers were raising cows and calves, he made the switch to a steer operation, which enabled the family ranch to continue to grow and develop. He was also one of the first Nebraska ranchers to introduce registered quarter horses to the area.
Leonard lived on the family ranch all of his life, doing everything that it takes to run a ranch. He worked in the hayfield for 80 years and rode his horse at shipping time. He still was out caking steers, and keeping the ranch books.
Leonard was a lifelong cowboy and did some roping in rodeos, but he really enjoyed team penning with friends and family members, seeing old friends and making new ones.
He raised quarter horses and was a lifelong member of the American Quarter Horse Association. He was a member of the Sandhills Cattle Association and also served on the Mullen Rural Fire Board. He enjoyed watching and bragging about the great-grandsons playing youth football.
Leonard is survived by his wife of almost 64 years, their children, Wayne (Fran) Phipps of Berthoud, Colo., Gary (Glenda) of Whitman, and Lois Mary (Jim) Hardy of Mullen, grandchildren Heather (Erick) Johnson of North Platte, Brett (Jordyn) Phipps of Whitman, Wade Phipps of Ft. Laramie, Wyo., Elissa Hardy of Denver, Colo., Crystal (Wynn) Wiens of Mullen and RJ Hardy of North Platte. Other survivors include five great-grandchildren: Justin and Adam Wiens, Makenna and Madisyn Johnson and Kaisley Phipps, brother Doug (Alice) Phipps of Mullen, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends. Leonard never met a stranger.
Memorials are to the Whitman Community Club, Whitman Cemetery, Grant County Ambulance Fund.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and his youngest brother Bob.
Services were held at 1 p.m. MST Monday, April 22 at the United Methodist Church in Mullen. Interment was at the Whitman Cemetery. Mullen Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.