Pioneer Day Grand Marshals, Larry and Betty Leonhardt

The Leonhardt family began in Gering, Neb., as Larry Leonhardt was born to Henry and Viola Leonhardt on Oct. 24, 1934. Larry was the first of four children born to that family. He was joined by sisters Sharon and Mariann and brother Charles.

Life on the farm during the Depression years and the war years was not an easy task. It took everyone in the family to make the small farm just south of Scottsbluff National Monument successful. These were the years that gave Larry his experience and expertise in farming.Leonhardts3

After completing high school Larry joined the Coast Guard and found himself stationed in New York City. It was here that Larry met a beautiful young girl working as a secretary on the Coast Guard base.

Elizabeth Ruth Kelly was born June 6, 1937, to William and Jeannette Kelly in Jackson Heights, N.Y. Elizabeth has one sister, Janet, and a brother, William. A parochial school education and high standards got Larry’s attention. The couple was married on Dec. 17, 1955.

With the start of their family in 1957, Larry and Betty decided to move back to Gering in hopes of establishing a farm life for their new family. The pursuit of this farm life moved them first to Worland, then on to Emblem and at last, through the efforts of Grant Taggart, to Cowley in 1962.

It is here in Cowley that Larry and Betty have raised five children: Susan, Lori, twins Larry and Gary, and Michael. Three of those children and their families have remained in the area. Larry lives in New Mexico and Susan in Colorado.

The unique qualities of hard work and devotion to family have combined to produce much success in their family and business. Their family success includes 22 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren and counting.

In business, they have been successful in agriculture as well as in the cattle industry. Shoshone Angus is world-renowned with cattle being sold throughout the world. Larry has served on local agricultural and water boards, as well as local, state, regional and national boards and councils for the cattle industry.

The Town of Cowley is a better place because the Leonhardts chose to make this their home.

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