Leonard Lee Ridenour age 86 of Mullen, NE joined the heavenly choir of Angels on September 14, 2020 at the Cherry County Hospital in Valentine, NE.
Funeral service will be Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. MT at the United Methodist Church in Mullen, NE with Pastor Shanon Williams officiating. Burial will be at a later date. Memorials are suggested to the Mullen Community Foundation or Dry Valley Church. A visitation will be held on Friday, September 18th from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., with family greeting 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Mullen Funeral Home. Mullen Funeral Home are in charge of arrangements. An online guest book may be signed at www.govierbrothers.com for words of encouragement or remembrance. The funeral will be livestreamed under Leonard’s obituary at www.govierbrothers.com
Leonard was born October 3, 1933 at Mullen, NE. He was the 6th of nine children of Homer Raymond and Eva Ella Mae (Marsh) Ridenour.
Mullen has always been his home attending elementary school there and graduating from Mullen High School in 1953. Summer high school jobs included haying for Hendersons’ (an extra $1.00 a day for stacking hay); for Fred Boyer and for the Nebraska Dept. of Roads, where being a flagman was the most boring job ever!
Sports were always a great part of his life, excelling in basketball and track. He was a member of the 1952 State qualifying basketball team and qualified for 7 events at State Track during one of his qualifying years. He was proud of jumping higher than his head scissor-style in the high jump. After high school he was still active in sports, playing town team basketball, softball, and baseball. He also drove many a Mullen athlete to their games since the school did not have busses back then. He also coached the girls’ softball team and at one time bowled on four leagues.
He was a member of the football chain gang for 52 years. There were some cold nights like the 1998 Crawford game, but it was the best seat in the house. He refereed many years of basketball earning him titles of being the best referee and even the worst. Golf was a special time to socialize for him being a league member for many years, he played his last round in 2019.
He drove the ambulance when it was Ivan Boyer’s station wagon and then after the first official ambulance was obtained. He was a past Sunday School Superintendent and regular choir member. He was past president of the Mullen Commercial Club and the High School Alumni.
Alumni was a special event for him to reconnect with friends. He missed just one alumni in 67 years to attend a Ridenour reunion at Ogden, Utah. The alumni dance was also significant as this was Judy and his first date. “Could I Have This Dance” (for the rest of my life) became their theme song and they requested it at many dances.
On his 38th birthday, so as to not forget his anniversary, Leonard married Judy Yaryan Stam, on October 3, 1971. This union also included two beautiful little girls, Karen, and Susan. Larry joined in 1972 and the historic car trip to Alliance at 120 MPH for Arla’s roadside birth in 1975, Ryan in 1978 and David in 1980 completed the family. Doting on precious nieces and nephews, Leonard always said, “he thought he knew how to raise kids; but found out he didn’t know a thing about being a parent.”
Leonard began working at Johnson’s Grocery Store in 1953 and continued on when ownership changed to Edgar Macke. In 1962, he entered into a partnership with The Neal and Marge Dutton Grocery Store and continued until February 1973. At that time, he moved 25 miles north of Mullen and began a new way of life ranching with Judy’s parents. He adapted well to ranching and soon met the challenge of calving season and continued ranching until his death. But, when asked his occupation, he always said 19 ½ years in the grocery business.
A beautiful voice has been silenced on earth. He often sang while riding in the car, especially if he thought Judy was getting tired or sleepy. On the long ride home on horseback from moving cattle to the summer pastures, he would delight his children with his singing – a true singing cowboy. His tenor voice found him singing and acting at Melodramas, singing for weddings, and singing for many funerals with the “Dry Valley Quartet” and with the Boyer family whom he loved dearly.
Leonard always created laughter and joy wherever he was. His humor was one of a kind and he will be greatly missed. Leonard was the family rock, always there with unwavering unconditional love. His last words were, “they are beautiful, tell them I love them”.
He was preceded in death by his parents. Sisters Marjorie, Deloris, Mildred, Barbara, brothers Clifford, Raymond, Bernard.
Leonard is survived by his wife Judy, daughter Karen and husband Darren Dageforde and son Pierce; daughter Susan and husband Rusty Sjeklocha and children Rebel and Jett; son Larry Andrew; daughter Arla and husband Mike Kvanvig and children Ty, Tel, Tate, and Ava; son Ryan and wife Shelby and daughter Anna, and son David and children Addison, Bergen, Ellory, Byron, and Ingrid; as well as sister, Donna Jensen, sister’s-in-law Shirley Ridenour and Cathy Ridenour, and brother-in-law Leroy Roth, nieces, nephews, and many relatives.