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Leroy Strand

January 29, 1919 ~ August 2, 2016 (age 97)
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Leroy Strand, 97, of Geyser and formerly of Manly, Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at Great Falls Clinic Hospital in Great Falls.

Oswald Leroy Strand was born on January 29, 1919 to Oswald B. and Maude Peshak Strand on a farm near Manly, Iowa.  Later the family moved into Manly and then to Plymouth, Iowa.  He graduated as Valedictorian in 1936 from Plymouth High School.  He was active in basketball, band, glee club and the school paper.  During World War II Leroy served in the South Pacific with the 112th Cavalry of the U. S. Army.  While in the service, Leroy was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, a Good Conduct Medal, four Bronze Stars for the New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Luzon, and Southern Philippines campaigns, and five overseas bars.  He was an enlisted soldier from 1942 until his honorable discharge in 1945.

In 1952 Leroy married Norma Sorensen.  They resided in Manly where they enjoyed twenty-three years together until her passing in 1975.  In 1981, he married Claris Loberg.  Leroy and Claris spent seventeen happy years on the ranch near Geyser until her passing in 1998.  Both marriages were held at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa.

His entire lifetime was spent working with and around cattle and horses.  As a boy, he helped with his father’s livestock business and also fed beef calves to show for 4-H.  In 1940 he became a partner with his father in the Oswald Strand & Son livestock business in Manly where large cattle auctions were held annually for many years.  In 1944 Leroy entered into a partnership with his parents and brother in purchasing a cattle ranch near Geyser, and he became sole owner of the Strand Ranch in 1964.  Leroy operated and managed the ranch until 1998 when he leased the ranch and cattle to Tony and Tanara Martin.  Leroy continued to live on the ranch and remained an active partner/friend/advisor to the Martins.  He enjoyed coming down to the corrals to evaluate the cattle, watching the hay operation and counting bales during haying season; however, his highlight was driving around the ranch at break-neck speed showing visitors the wonders of the land!

In 1997 Leroy and Claris established the Geyser Public School Strand Scholarship and have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to be awarded to graduates of Geyser High School to further their education.  Leroy’s community support will continue through the enduring Strand Foundation for the communities surrounding the ranch.  In addition to these foundations, Leroy has been a very generous supporter to a wide range of charities throughout his life.  He has also been an active supporter of the Russell Museum in Great Falls.

Leroy faithfully attended church every Sunday, was usually early, keenly observant, and enjoyed commenting when people were late.  He never smoked or drank liquor, because his mother told him not to do so.  He was a man of few words, but his sense of humor was quick and spot on.  He will be remembered for his love of sports, especially basketball, and in his later years treated local teams to dinner and established relationships with many young athletes and coaches.

At the age of 80, Leroy fine- tuned his skills on the computer in order to author his book, FROM THE SHELLROCK TO THE HIGHWOODS, which was published in 2000.

Leroy is survived by his sister Joan Rich of Normal, Illinois; sister-in-law, Donna Strand of Missoula; brother-in-law, Harley Smith of Welling, Oklahoma; and 12 nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother Dean Strand; three sisters, an infant sister, Dorothy Chehock and Margaret May Smith; and two brothers-in-law, Eldon Chehock and John Rich.

A Memorial Service is planned in his honor on Friday, August 26, 2016 at 2:00 pm at Croxford Funeral Home, 1307 Central Avenue, Great Falls. Leroy’s ashes will be laid to rest on the Strand Ranch near Geyser and also at Memorial Park Cemetery in Mason City, Iowa.


 Service Information

Memorial Service
Friday
August 26, 2016

2:00 PM
The Rose Room Chapel ~ Croxford Funeral Home
1307 Central Ave
Great Falls, MT 59401


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