COZAD, Nebraska -- Russel Dewey LeDroit, 83, of Cozad, Nebraska, died Saturday, May 8, 2010, surrounded by his family at Cozad Community Hospital in Cozad.
He was born April 7, 1927, in Loveland, Colorado to Dewey Joseph and Leota (Miller) LeDroit. When he was 6 years old, his mother died. He and his older sister Lucille went to live with their paternal grandmother, Sophia (Kay) LeDroit on the homestead near Eddyville, Nebraska. When he was 14, he went to live with Lucille and her husband, Rawlin "Tuffy" Hagan.
On July 12, 1948 he married Vera Perry at Grand Island, Nebraska. To this union, 5 children were born.
Russ worked very hard to support his family; he enjoyed careers as a crop duster pilot and brick mason. He eventually owned his own masonry company, Kearney Masonry; with, sometimes, large crews working multiple projects at a time, including the UNK Administrative building, Kearney Fire Hall, First United Methodist Church, York County Courthouse, the Law Enforcement center, the first and second additions to Good Samaritan Hospital, and numerous other commercial and residential projects in central Nebraska. In 1976, he and Vera built their dream home at Taylor Manor on Harlan County Lake. Vera preceded him in death in 1986.
On Leap Day, Feb. 29, 1988, he married Ardith Puls Lutjeharms of Republican City; they moved to the "big house" on the main road to Harlan County dam. Many locals remember their impressive light displays; hundreds of local children enjoyed the treats left for them in the big locker on the grounds of "L's Half-Acre." His wife, Ardie, died Feb. 14, 2010.
He was a member of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. While he lived in Republican City, he served on many honor guards at the funerals of other veterans.
Russ enjoyed gardening, cooking, hunting, fishing, photography, flying, storm chasing and, having a creative mind, was always finding ways to improve on any project. He was a "tinkerer" and a "thinker" and will be missed by his loving family and friends.
Survivors include his children, Dan and wife, Gloria LeDroit of Kearney, Nebraska; Diane Reiber of Lexington, Nebraska; Debra Adams and husband, Randy of Cozad, Nebraska; Don LeDroit of Mesa, Arizona, and Doug LeDroit of Kearney, Nebraska; stepsons, Spencer Puls and wife, Marilee of Manhattan, Kansas; Bruce Puls and wife, Joann of Salina, Kansas; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; sister, Lucille Hagan of Culbertson, Nebraska; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Russ is also survived by two half-brothers, Loren LeDroit of North Platte, Nebraska and George (Dee) LeDroit of Adrian, Michigan; two half-sisters, Shirley (Dennis) Ogborn and Louise Tridle both of North Platte, Nebraska.
In addition to Russel's wives, he was preceded in death by his parents and one half-brother.
Funeral services will be Friday, May 14, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. at the Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington with Reverend John Craig officiating.
Burial with Military Honors will be in the Greenwood Cemetery at Lexington.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 13, 2010, from 5-7 p.m. at the Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington.
Memorials are suggested to Central Plains Hospice in Cozad, Cozad Hospital or the American Cancer Society Dawson Co. Relay for Life.
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is in charge of arrangements. Please directed condolences to the family at: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com