Jack Leonard, 1930--2005

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Steamboat Springs resident Jack Leonard died Oct. 13, 2005, at The Memorial Hospital in Craig. He was 74.

Jack was born in Ogallala, Neb., on Oct. 19, 1930, to John and Doris Leonard. Jack grew up on a ranch in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. He graduated from Sedgwick County High School in Julesburg in 1948.

In 1954, Jack moved to Steamboat Springs to start ranching. There he met Joy Overmeyer, and they were married in 1957. Joy had two daughters, Dana and Kathy, from a previous marriage and Jack soon adopted the girls. Jack and Joy later had two other children, a daughter, Carma, and a son, Bill.

In 1959, Jack and a partner bought a ranch in Browns Park on the banks of the Green River. In 1963, this ranch was condemned by the federal government and became the Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge. Jack worked for the refuge for four years.

In 1970, Jack became a part-time water commissioner for the state of Colorado. He worked as a water commissioner for the next 31 years. Also in the early 1970s, Jack started to help survey and develop the Wilderness Ranch Subdivision on Black Mountain. This included using his old Ford 8N tractor to drill most on the septic test holes. Wilderness Ranch would become one of Jack's greatest passions. After the subdivision was developed, Jack obtained his Colorado Real Estate Brokers license, opened his own real estate business, WR Realty, and started selling Wilderness Ranch lots and local ranches.

Jack operated his business until his retirement in 2004. During this time, Jack continued his love of ranching by running yearlings on Black Mountain and by being a co-owner of the 3J Ranch on Diamond Mountain.

Jack and Joy divorced in 1976. Jack married Charlene Urie in 1980.

Jack will be remembered for his love of the "range," his kind heart, his positive attitude and his honest way of doing business.

Jack is preceded in death by his parents, John and Dories Leonard, and his daughter Carma Sixkiller.

Jack is survived by his wife of 25 years, Charlene; two sisters, Nancy Tapp of Lewellen, Neb., and Sue Thornburg and her husband Jerry of Chappell, Neb.; a brother, Jim Leonard of Omaha, Neb.; two daughters, Kathy and her husband Lynn Bower of Craig, and Dana Peterson of Baggs, Wyo.; a son, Bill and his wife Jan Leonard of Craig; three stepsons, Doug and his wife, Jackie Urie of Oklahoma, Dan Urie of Oregon, and Bill Urie of Colorado; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and numerous other family and friends.

Memorial services were held Oct. 17, 2005, in Craig. Interment was in the Craig Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to the Moffat County Cancer Society of the Alzheimer's Association in care of the Grant Mortuary in Craig.

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