WRAY, Colo. -- Lewis G. "Lew" Reese, 79, died Monday (June 29, 2009), at Wray Community Hospital in Wray, Colo.
He was born July 10, 1929, at Stringtown, Iowa, to Harry and Hazel (Gaston) Reese. He attended a one room country school and attended high school in Creston, Iowa, graduating in 1947. He attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, for one year. In 1948 he joined his family in partnership at the Stringtown Guernsey Farm.
In 1949, he married Doris Rice. They divorced in 1952.
He entered the U.S. Army, serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Korea for 18 months. He was honorably discharged as a Sgt. 1st Class in 1954.
In July 1955, he married Jean McNaught in Grand Island. They returned to the dairy farm which was sold in 1960. He started selling farm supplies and in 1961 accepted the manager position at the FS Coop in Humeston, Iowa. In 1962 he started showing harness ponies and established the Stringtown Pony Farm. Accepting a promotion in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1966 meant moving pony farm and all to Fort Dodge.
After the birth of a son, he returned to farming, leasing land in Parks, where they started with 50 head of cattle. He also judged the horse and pony show at the Nebraska State Fair for three years.
In 1980, he started an ag-spraying service, "Sandhills Aviation Inc.
He and Jean divorced in 1986 and he moved to Benkelman after liquidating all assets.
Starting over in November 1987, he began working for Wells Fargo as a Lead Messenger on a three man crew. In 1988, he received the President Award from Wells Fargo for his actions following a rollover accident on LaVeta Pass.
In December 1988 he married Viola Pursley. They moved to Denver, Colo.
In 1994 they bought acreage north of Wray and established the "Trails End Ranch" by 2000. He retired 2002.
In 2003 he sold his herd and began working for Apria Healthcare in Wray.
In 2006 he was named to the People Hall of Fame by the American Show Pony Club.
He was a 50-year member of the Circle Lodge No. 555, AF&AM of Prescott, Iowa; and a lifelong member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4178 of Benkelman.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Margaret Bissell; step-mother, Merle Reese; and a step-grandson, Shane Anderson.
Survivors include his wife, Viola, of Wray; son, Scott Reese and wife, Krystal of Denver; daughter, Gretchen Brotherton and husband, Jeff of Greer, S.C.; step-son, Jerry Pursley and wife, Becky of Sapulpa, Okla.; step-daughter, Kayla Anderson and husband, Larry of McCook; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were today at Forch Funeral Chapel with the Rev. Lonnie Willis officiating. Interment with military honors followed at the Benkelman Cemetery.
A memorial has been established in his name.
Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman is in charge of arrangements.