Leon Dale Schrader was born March 11, 1923, to John and Lola (Passmore) Schrader in Benkelman.
Leon passed away unexpectedly in his home on March 22, 2008. He had just celebrated his 85th birthday with family and friends.
Leon grew up on his family's farm five miles northwest of Benkelman. He attained his elementary education at a country school three miles from his home, and graduated in 1942 from Benkelman High School.
Leon married Josephine G. Rowe on Feb. 18, 1947. To this union three daughters were born, Linda Kay, Joan Ilene and Kaylene Lynn. Leon and Josephine made their lifelong home in Benkelman.
Leon enjoyed being with his family and friends, telling jokes and putting a smile on everyone's face. He always saw the comical side of things, and loved to laugh, especially at himself.
Leon was self-taught in the electrical and air-conditioning trade and opened an appliance store know as Schrader Electric. Eventually, he made farming his full-time occupation and developed his farm into one of the first irrigated crop grounds. All of his working years were spent farming a portion of the Schrader homestead. Many who knew him were very impressed with his knowledge, wide range of talents and skills, and his vision to see a solution where others couldn't. He was successful in life, business, and family.
Leon had a passion for guns. He enjoyed attending gun shows and could discuss the statistics of any weapon produced. He was also an excellent marksman and many marveled at his skills.
Leon loved to entertain his company by waiting on them, visiting, and sharing a meal. He joked about having a prime rib taste on a hamburger budget. Friends and family were usually given the pleasure of hearing his varied music selections he enjoyed playing on his keyboard. One song would lead right into another until either his audience left or he ran out of selections. He sang in a baritone voice that was infectious and sounded throughout the house.
Leon had several canine companions later in his life, which he doted on and bragged about like they were family. These friends accompanied him on many adventures and were by his side in his day to day routine.
All of his children and grandchildren looked up to him. He taught them everything he could, to pass down all that was a part of him.
Leon was preceded in death by his wife, Josephine; his daughter, Linda Merklin; parents, John and Lola; his sister, Marie Kauffman; and his brother, Howard Schrader.
He is survived by two daughters, Joan Krutsinger and husband, Bobby of Benkelman and Kaylene Pracht and husband, Eugene of Broken Bow; son-in-law, Wayne Merklin of Cordova, Ark.; two grandsons, Kerri Merklin and wife, RaChell of Sacramento, Calif., and Jerami Merklin and wife, Christine of Denton; four granddaughters, Jill Albrecht and husband, Edd of Cozad, Molly Horner and husband, Trevor of Benkelman, Katie Partch and husband, Randy also of Benkelman and Jennifer Schukei and husband, Shane of Broken Bow; 11 great-grandchildren; and numerous other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were today in the funeral home chapel. Interment followed services at the Benkelman Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman.