Cover photo for Leonard Rule Vance's Obituary
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1931 Leonard 2020

Leonard Rule Vance

June 9, 1931 — April 13, 2020

Leonard Rule Vance, 88, passed away peacefully at his La Junta home surrounded by his son and daughter on April 13, 2020.

Leonard was born on June 9, 1931 in Akron, Colorado to Delmar D. Vance and Emma Rule Vance. His strong, pioneering family, including brother, Ralph, homesteaded on a farm five miles from town. He attended Star school, a one-room schoolhouse, until the family moved to Akron during his fourth grade year. As fate would have it, he met his childhood sweetheart, Beverley Lewis, who was also in the Principal’s office waiting to check in to Akron grade school. Leonard would later go on to marry his beloved Beverley in 1950. To this union a daughter Meredith and son Mark were born.

Growing up during the Depression and Dust Bowl Days taught Leonard that many good things in life come not from money or possessions but from hard work, a willingness to share resources, however meager, mixed with a big dose of love, humor and fervent prayer. A private man, he lived his life as an example of his Christian faith, devoted to God and his family. He will be remembered as a generous man who gave selflessly to others.

Leonard’s mother was a school superintendent in Akron, CO and instilled in him a love of learning and teaching that he embraced throughout his life. Leonard graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1953. After graduation, he joined the Army and was sent to the 10th Mountain Division. He was honorably discharged from a special troops unit in Fort Benning Georgia. After serving, he moved the family back to Colorado where he earned a Master’s Degree from University of Northern Colorado while beginning his teaching career in Strasburg, CO. In 1959 the family moved to La Junta where Leonard taught in East Otero School District for another 27 years. As Department Chair of the Industrial Arts Department at La Junta High School, he taught drafting, woodworking, power mechanics, metal fabrication and casting, and robotics. Leonard was honored to be selected as a Colorado Master Teacher but received more joy watching his students learn and create projects throughout the years. He modestly insisted that he learned more from “his kids” than he ever taught them. Leonard was involved with school activities while frequently driving the activities bus and sponsoring the National Honor Society.

As a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church, Leonard was an elder, session member, Bible study and small group leader. He spent many years as a Sunday school teacher and youth group leader for both the junior and senior high youth groups where he was fondly known as “Grumps” and made a lasting impression on young people. He participated in numerous youth and adult mission trips over the years.

Leonard was also a Koshare Key Man and for many years drove the bus on Koshare long trips. He was a volunteer driver for R.S.V.P and the Cancer Society. He was a board member for Casa del Sol and lead a Bible study group there as well.

After retiring from La Junta High School, Leonard went back to school and embarked on another career in real estate appraisal for fifteen years. While completely different than teaching, he found the job just as enjoyable. Later, when Beverley was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Leonard became a devoted caregiver and could be seen daily at Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center Nursing Home sharing mealtimes and taking her for walks nearly every day of her residence. Leonard’s devotion to Beverley was exemplary. From that experience, in 2008 he received training from the National Alzheimer’s Association and helped form and facilitated the local Alzheimer’s support group. In 2013 Leonard was awarded the Community Sunshine Award.

Leonard was a true gentleman. He had a positive attitude, a big heart, an uncanny sense of humor, a special way of telling stories and a zest for life. His actions throughout his life spoke louder than words and he will be truly missed by family and friends.

Leonard leaves behind his daughter, Meredith (Jerry) Bradfield of La Junta; son, Mark (Sue) Vance of Swink; grandchildren, Brianne (David) MacRunnel of Ft. Collins; Jenna (Joel) Reeves of Commerce City; Mitchell (Erin Hogue) Vance of La Junta and Andria Vance and fiancée Ryan Dwyer of Denver; great-grandchildren, Callum and Ainsley Reeves. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother and wife Beverley.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Fairview Cemetery with Reverend Dr. MJ Romano of the First Presbyterian Church in La Junta.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, The First Presbyterian Church La Junta or the Arkansas Valley Hospice direct or through the funeral home.

Online condolences may be made at Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leonard Rule Vance, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, July 18, 2020

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