GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. -- Lester James Leachman, 87, of Green Valley, Ariz., died March 5, 2008, at La Hacienda Assisted Living.
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He was born in Andamsville, Ohio, on Aug. 19, 1920. Les was a graduate of Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.
Lester, the youngest of seven children born to James Henry and Alice Starret Leachman, grew up in rural Ohio. Lester was well known for his lifetime achievement as a pioneer, leader and breeder of purebred Angus cattle.
His portrait was hung Nov. 12, 2007, at the world-famous Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery, which is the internationally recognized curator of the history of the entire spectrum of animal agriculture. As the largest gallery of portraits in the world that are devoted to a single industry, it is a shining example of the impact of animal agriculture in the United States on the nation and the entire world. Great men from many walks of life are represented in this collection.
Lester is internationally respected as one of the greatest masters in the art of the production of superior beef cattle. The Angus cattle bred by Lester over the course of six decades have significantly changed the beef industry in many nations. Even more importantly, the men who have been positively influenced by this soft-spoken and elegant gentleman have spread his unique combination of sincerity and integrity beyond the confines of agriculture and throughout our society.
Lester worked with and was influenced by his brother, Lee Leachman, and their long-time business associates, Allan Ryan and Myron Fuerst, all of whom contributed to the growth and success of Ankony Farms, which dispersed in the 1960s for record prices.
In the 1970s, Lester began a new ranching business in Bozeman with his youngest son, Jay. Leachman Angus Ranch produced many of the high-producing sires and dams in the Angus breed during its 35 years in business. Equally as important, the art and science of breeding superior seed stock has been passed on to son Jay and on to grandson Eric Leachman, who carries on the family tradition in Montana.
The accomplishments of six decades of cattle breeding by the Leachman Family could fill a book, and they did. Lester compiled and wrote "No Better Bull: A Chronicle of Family and My Life with the Angus Breed" during his retirement years in Arizona.
Lester is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Ruth Arnold Leachman of Green Valley, Ariz.; son, William Leachman and his wife Mary of Davis, Calif.; son, Jay Leachman and his wife Cheryl of Bozeman; granddaughter, Tara Leachman Stapleton and her husband Tracy of Davis; grandson, Eric Leachman and his wife Marlo of Toston, Mont.; grandson, Adam Leachman and his wife Jen of Billings; grandson, Joshua Leachman of Davis; great-grandchildren, Connor and Colby Stapleton and Abby and Wade Leachman; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate Lester's life is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at La Posada's Madera room in the La Vista building, Green Valley, Ariz. Interment will be scheduled at a later date in Adamsville, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that friends honor Lester Leachman's memory by making contributions to the Angus Foundation, 3201 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph, MO 64506, to support the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA).
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 9, 2008