Jesse A. “Jess” Leonard Jr.
A memorial service for lifelong Cortez resident Jesse A. “Jess” Leonard Jr. will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at Cortez First United Methodist Church. Inurnment will follow at Cortez Cemetery with military honors being provided by Ute Mountain American Legion Post No. 75.
Jess was born Oct. 7, 1929, in Delta, Colo. the son of Jesse Alva Leonard Sr. and Sarah Maude (Merica) Leonard. He passed away Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at his home at the age of 83.
He was a lifelong friend of the community, and was a hard worker. Jess and his family moved to Arriola in 1933. Part of his life was working on the family farm. He did attend school at Arriola Grade School and Garrett Ridge Elementary. He graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 1947, and was one of the first to ride the first school bus in Montezuma County. Jess was an excellent student; he won the spelling bee, one year and won an award for penmanship. Jess was a square dance caller for the Lewis Grange Square Dancers. When he was only 19 years old he and the dancers won a state award.
While working on the farm with his family he was also active in 4-H and received numerous awards and ribbons for his beef breeding, crops, dairy cows and junior leadership. He enlisted in the Army in 1949 and was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska, from 1951 to 1954. While in the Army he was a cook and a few specialties were doughnuts and lemon pies. When he returned from the Army, he began a career working in a few local banks, but eventually he left the bank to pursue his passion of farming.
On Feb. 2, 1969, Jess married the love of his life, Maidee Douthit Ertel. Not only did he gain a wife he also gained two children, Shaun and Lorna. He would later adopt these children and love them as his own. Their family grew with the birth of their daughter, Lana. His wife and children brought true pleasure to him. He was active in 4-H with his children, and followed Lana in her basketball years.
Jess had several careers over his life, he was a farmer, rancher, Realtor, and auctioneer. In fact one of his greatest pleasures was when he was asked to sell the 4-H livestock sale.
Surviving Jess are his wife of 44 years, Maidee of Cortez; his son, Shaun Leonard and wife, Lisa of Cortez; his daughters, Lorna Jahn and husband, Terry of Richmond, Va., and Lana Flenniken and husband, Quinn of Colorado Springs; his three grandchildren, Kyle Jahn, Jessica Jahn, and Aidan Flenniken; and his sister, Mildred McGettrick of Cortez. Preceding him in death are his parents, and his siblings, M.H. “Buddy” Leonard, Margaret Ford, and Frankie Leonard.
The family would like to offer special thanks to Hospice of Montezuma for the care Jess received. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Hospice of Montezuma, P.O. Box 740, Cortez.
Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.