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Friday, October 12, 2012

Wayne L. Leek, 97, of Fort Scott, died early Wednesday morning, Oct. 10, 2012, at Mercy Hospital. He was born near Bronson, Kan., on May 26, 1915, the son of Ross A. and Hazel G. West Leek.

Wayne graduated from Richards High School. After high school, Wayne attended Fort Scott Junior College. He had various odd jobs while attending junior college and, eventually took a position with S.H. Kress and Company where he met the love of his life Dorothy Gordon Leek. They were married Feb. 6, 1938, on her parents' farm west of Fort Scott.

Wayne continued to work for the Kress Company until he was drafted into the Army in 1944. He was sent to El Paso, Texas, for basic training. Dorothy was able to take Linda and John to El Paso to live until he was sent overseas. She returned to Fort Scott while he was gone and she and the children stayed with their parents. Wayne was very proud of the time he spent in the service of his country. He was never convinced that war was the answer to the problems that countries face, but felt that people needed to be protected from tyranny and everyone should do what they could to help people that had their freedoms taken from them. He entered WW II close to the end and his unit was involved in helping the Europeans relocate after peace was declared. Wayne often said leaving his family to go to war was the hardest thing he ever had to do.

When Wayne came home he returned to the Kress Company until 1947 when his brother decided to open the Leek's Clothing Store in Fort Scott. Wayne and Dorothy brought their family back to Fort Scott and bought a home at 719 S. Crawford. When Joe and Nancy came along, increasing the family to four, they purchased the larger home at 711 S. Crawford where they lived for over 60 years. Providing for his family was a top priority for Wayne. He saw to it that they always had the resources to accomplish their goals. He was very proud of each of his children and found great satisfaction in all of their accomplishments. His family always looked to him for the strength they needed to reach those goals.

Wayne and Dorothy were deeply devoted to each other and enjoyed a truly blessed life. He introduced Dorothy to golf and the game of bridge. Participating in these two activities they developed a very special network of friends. They were loyal friends and always there when needed. Dorothy's message to everyone when she died was, "Brighten the Corner Where You Are." Wayne and Dorothy certainly brightened the lives of all their friends and family with their care and concern.

Wayne continued to work at the clothing store into his 70s.

He loved working with his brother and often would mention what a good team they were. Wayne purchased a farm in the 1960s where he fed cattle and planted a big garden. His many friends benefited from his garden, receiving the best sweet corn anyone could grow. Family holiday dinners were always special because of the extra dishes that came from his garden.

Wayne looked forward to the Wednesday night men's golf and playing on the weekends. When most of his friends had retired, they played all year long. One Christmas, he gave Dorothy a cover and heater for the golf cart. Everyone thought that was very thoughtful, except Dorothy never played golf in the cold weather. Wayne, also, enjoyed hunting and working with his bird dogs. He felt that pointers made the best hunting dogs and this was a source of friendly contention between him and several of his friends. Wayne had a terrific sense of humor that was often displayed in one liners, such as, "Never hunt with a drunk and never play golf with a beginner."

Wayne loved playing bridge. He would drop everything for a game. Bridge challenged his thinking skills, giving him a great sense of accomplishment. The challenge of playing was only part of the reason Wayne enjoyed playing bridge. Interacting with his many bridge partners gave him contentment and satisfaction.

Wayne's life spanned amazing times traveling from Richards, Mo., to Fort Scott, Kan., on horseback to traveling in his daughter's minivan using a GPS instead of a road map to marveling at how the cell phone could find him deep in the woods repairing fence.

He was continually amazed by the new technology that was developed in his lifetime. He deeply appreciated nature and his surroundings. He was constantly trying to figure out why this rock formation was here, or even how the sun could just hang up there in the sky.

Wayne Leek was a man of many talents. These God- given talents of responsibility, faithfulness, trustworthiness, tenderness, humor and love were used by Wayne to make the world a better place for those he loved. He was a true believer in the fact that people tend to treat you the way you treat them. His non- judgmental attitude toward everyone made him someone many, many people trusted. He was most often defined as a "True Gentleman."

Wayne is survived by two daughters: Linda Hessong and husband Randy of Fort Scott, and Nancy Lopez and husband Bob of Saline, Mich.; three sons: John and wife Jan of Georgetown, Texas; Joe and wife Becky of Pittsburg, Kan., and Jay and wife Julie of Fort Scott; three sisters: Winnie Daly and Fleeta Antrim, Fort Scott, and Wanda Giddens, Tulsa, Okla., and one brother-in-law: Carl "Pinky" Gordon of Oklahoma City, Okla.; 14 grandchildren and 15 great- grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, two brothers: Hollis and Max, and a great grandson, Mark Danzig.

The Rev. Dr. Kenton Vann will conduct funeral services for Wayne Leek at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the National Cemetery. The family will receive friends before the services from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Memorials may be made to either the Endowment Association at the Fort Scott Community College or Mercy Palliative Care and may be sent to or left in care of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, 15 W. Wall St., P.O. Box 309, Fort Scott, Kan., 66701. Online condolences may be emailed to expressions@konantz-cheney.com.