Leonard Mapston, 77, beloved husband, admired father, proud grandfather, honored brother, respected teacher, esteemed mentor, retired veteran, passed away peacefully on Oct. 25 of natural causes.
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Leonard's adventure began on July 26, 1935, in Great Falls, born the eldest son to Albert and Elizabeth Lingel Mapston. He was never one to accept mediocrity and he set his sights on living a life of excitement and adventure.
After graduating from Centerville High School in 1953, his path didn't immediately lean toward higher education but instead he joined the work force. Eventually recognizing this choice may not be the end to any means, he joined the Army with 2 of his closest friends in 1954. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to Sand Coulee and met his lifelong soul mate, Lucille Lemoine. They were married on August 31, 1957. It was an adventure to last 55 years.
Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Leonard pursued a degree in teaching the sciences. His first teaching experience was in Bainville, MT where he taught physics and general science, coached basketball and track, and had a stint at being a principal and eventually settled in Lewistown MT. It was there where he was honored by the Jaycees as Outstanding Young Educator. After 27 years of positively influencing countless students, he retired from his illustrious teaching career. But Leonard was not finished. He then was employed by HRDC as a life coach and trainer, and later employed by Montana State Job Service. His journey took another remarkable turn in 1990, when, at age 55 on the verge of retiring from a twenty year career in the Army Reserves, he was deployed to Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War for 8 months.
Throughout Leonard's life, he served tirelessly in many capacities. He was the first AFS Exchange Student Advisor for FHS where he was lauded for "sharing himself with the world". He was a lifelong member of the Lions Clubs International, and served as District 37A Governor in 1994. Leonard was a past member of Eagles, Elks and American Legion and served on the Lewistown City Parks Board as well and the Fergus County Credit Union Board.
Leonard was a lively raconteur who captivated children, dogs and dignitaries alike. Family gatherings assured lively conversation and good food as he was an accomplished cook and a consummate entertainer. Leonard and Lucille traveled extensively; Europe, the Orient, South America and the Caribbean – making friend wherever they went. Spending the last 15 winter in Yuma, AZ was great enjoyment for him.
Leonard is survived by his wife of 55 years Lucille Lemoine Mapston; son Kelly Mapston (Twila); daughter Lenette Kosovich; son Jay Mapston (Gloria). His legacy extends to four grandchildren, Jenna Mapston, Caden Kosovich, Jarek Kosovich, and Bowen Kosovich; his three step-granddaughters Nicole, Angie, and Kelly; and AFS Student Exchange daughters, Christina Sampaio and Denise Oldham-Robinson. He is also survived by his brothers, David Mapston (LaDonna), and Darrell Mapston (Tonia) and beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, mother and brother Ken.
Leonard's true character once again surfaced when facing the reality of his own last great adventure, he comforted his grandchildren and told them this was "just part of life", and imparted his "borrowed" mantra, "Be All You Can Be". He lived a big, full life that touched and influenced literally thousands of people in profound and positive ways. Anyone who ever met Leonard Mapston will never forget him.
Memorials may be made to Billings Heights Lion's Scholarship Fund. P.O. Box 50974, Billings, MT 59105.
Visitation is 12 noon to 2 p.m Sunday, Oct 28 and memorial service is 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Military Honors is 9:30a.m. Friday, Nov 2 at the Yellowstone County Veteran's Cemetery.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Oct. 28, 2012