Cover photo for Leonard Albert Waldron's Obituary
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1948 Leonard 2022

Leonard Albert Waldron

May 26, 1948 — March 2, 2022

Leonard Albert “Butch” Waldron, 73, he passed away unexpectedly on March 2, 2022, from complications of back surgery at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. Heaven gained an angel, but the world sorely lost one. He was born on May 26, 1948, in Gordon, Nebraska.

Leonard was the youngest of four children born to Harvey Leonard and Marie Elizabeth (Abold) Waldron. His childhood was spent robustly exploring the family farm outside of Hay Springs, Nebraska. His brother, Larry and sister, Joy had to save his life more than once when he unintentionally drank gasoline and then again when he accidentally started their home on fire. His carefree childhood included other adventures like nearly drowning in the stock tank and getting lost in the woods.

Leonard was not quite two when Joy developed polio. He was placed in the care of an elderly Aunt for a length of time while his mom stayed at the far-away hospital with Joy. When he finally reunited with the family, Leonard would only answer to "Butch," the nickname his aunt had given him. "It just seemed to suit the little go-getter," she said.

The family moved from the farm to Chadron, Nebraska where Butch hustled for money. He went door-to-door selling greeting cards and hair wax. Next, he washed car windows and changed reels at the drive-in movie theater. Marbles, swimming at Chadron State Park and playing cards with his chums all had to wait if there was a dollar to be made. He wasn't even 12 years old.

By his early teens, Butch stayed busy at after-school jobs as a masonry helper, dishwasher and gas station attendant. He lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Phoenix, Arizona and Duluth, Minnesota before settling in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1967.

It was in Rapid City where, at age 19, Butch met Sherry Lynn Heiser who likes to say, "I chased him 'til he caught me." The couple knew each other only three months before they married. The minister who counseled and wed them said, "I'm sorry kids, but this will never last." In January of this year, they celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.

On June 6th, 1972, 24-year-old Butch was severely burned when he and his BBQ grille caught fire. He was still in the hospital on June 9th when Rapid City drowned in the "Black Hills Flood of 1972." 238 people lost their lives; 11 of them were Butch and Sherry's neighbors on Riverside Drive.

The hospital where Butch was still in ICU was seriously damaged. Until that night, Sherry had to gown up complete with hairnet, mask and booties before she could enter the room where (due to the burns) he lay basically uncovered. When it was his turn to be evacuated, six burly, exhausted, and mud-dripping volunteers gingerly laid him on a stretcher to carry him out. But, the pallet slipped from their grip and he went sliding half-naked down the swampy steps. It was funny...later.
The flood took their home, autos, workplaces and incomes. And Butch? He just kept going.

In 1976, the couple took a vacation trip to Denver. They were enjoying themselves so much that, on a whim, they each applied for and found jobs in Denver all in that one week. Butch started a career selling Ford auto parts. In 1981, he accepted a job in Houston, Texas, where his largest account was the city of Houston's Ford auto fleet. In 1985, homesick for family, the couple moved back to Denver.

Butch developed COPD in 1999 and in 2006, he, Sherry and Chubbe, the dog all retired early to La Junta. After 54 years of city living he felt like a farmboy again and he became a professional putterer.

Leonard used to tell friends "Sherry never saw a house that didn't need a wall torn down." In La Junta, Sherry joked "And you've never seen a fence that didn't need a gate!" He had chickens and goats and gates. When he joined Valley Cowboy Church, he also had friends.

He found his Savior Jesus Christ when Pastor Gail Allen led him to the Lord. He liked the Bible-based faith, and the feeling that he had a church family.

In 2016 Sherry broke several bones in a fall and couldn't walk and needed full-time assistance. For a time she was in a nursing facility. But, when Leonard realized that she was desperately unhappy, he brought her home. He devoted his remaining years to her care. No more chickens or goats or gates or retirement, just 24/7 work. He was an angel among us.

Preceding Leonard in death were his three infant children; his parents Harvey Waldron and Marie Moore; sister and brother-in-law, Joy and Ben Waltman; father-and-mother-in-law, Gil and Toodie Heiser; sister-in-law, Julie Grebner; brother-in-law, Ernie Nelson; nephew, Bert Sutherland, Jr; great-nephew, Cameron Liggett; great-niece, Mica Rickenbach and his shadow dog, Chubbe.

Survivors include his wife, Sherry; brothers, Larry (Mary) and David (Mary) Waldron; special cousin, Rosalie (Don) Ross; sisters-in-law, Dianne Nelson, Janice (Rich Mirich) Manders, Amy (Tony) Goebel and brother-in-law, Jim Grebner. He is also survived by several beloved nieces and nephews and their families.

Ruth 2:12 says, "May the Lord, the God of Israel whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done." Surely Leonard has received his reward. Services will be held at Valley Cowboy Church at a later date.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 13, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at the Valley Cowboy Church in La Junta.

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 Albert Waldron, please visit our flower store.

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Friday, May 13, 2022

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