MAX -- Leslie Ivan Kirkman, 77, died Thursday (July 31, 2008), at Dundy County Hospital in Benkelman.
Following graduation, he started working as a yard tender for Dr. G.A. Morehouse, who taught him landscaping and how to garden. When the hospital was being enlarged he had the opportunity to work with the construction crew and packed all of the footings for the new addition. He also helped mix mud and mortar and tended the masons. This experience encouraged him, at the age of 19, to partner with his brother, Quentin, and they began building houses in the area.
In 1951, Les entered the U.S. Army and served two years in Korea as part of the Signal Corps. After receiving his honorable discharge in 1953, Les returned to the area where he once again worked with his brother building houses.
On Oct. 9, 1955, he married Phyllis Howard of Max.
After his brother moved to Denver, he hired help and continued in the building trade in an area that spanned from west of Haigler to McCook, and as far south as Bird City.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Quentin; and brothers-in-law, Byron Ham and Don Randall.
Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Kirkman of Max; son, Neal and wife, Val of Brainard; sisters, Eula Ham of Benkelman and Bonnie Randall of Houghton Lake, Mich; brother, Ashley Kirkman and wife, Alta of Gladstone, Ore.;
Funeral services will be Saturday, 10:30 a.m., at Forch Funeral Chapel in Benkelman with Rev. Brian Fong officiating. Interment will follow services at the Benkelman Cemetery.
Visitation is Saturday, 8 a.m-9 p.m. at the funeral home. The casket will be open prior to services.
Memorials may be given in his name.
Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman is in charge of arrangements.