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Leon Dean Gertjejansen

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Leon Dean Gertjejansen AKA "Big Lee" and/or "Butch" to his friends and family, age 70, passed away Sunday morning July 27, 2008, at home in his garden. Leon was born in Vesta, Minnesota to Abe and Viola Gertjejansen on September 4, 1937.

Upon Viola's death, he was lovingly raised by his mother, Vivian Gertjejansen. Leon (Butch) lived his boyhood years in Vesta, Walnut Grove, and Fulda, Minnesota. He graduated from Fulda High School in 1955. He then enlisted in the US Navy, and supported our Country in the Seabees in Guam's NMCB-10. After completion of his military service, he returned to Fulda, MN. Howe Scale Company offered him a job in Minneapolis, and then later transferred him to Stockton, California. A position opened with Hobart Sales & Service, which lead to an offer to establish an agency by Hobart Corp. Choosing Chico, California, he moved with a business partner (Hank Ross), and established his agency covering most of Northern California. He operated his agency for 30 years until he retired in 1999. Lee loved the outdoors, ocean fishing, hunting, camping, gardening, and also playing cribbage with his friends and family. He was a superb cook and loved smoking fish, game and other delicacies. Lee exemplified the true meaning of a friend and family man, who had a special gleam of love in his eyes for his three grandchildren. All who knew him will miss him.

He is survived by his devoted and caring wife, Gwen; daughter, Kimberly and husband, Ron Johnson, and their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth of San Jose; son, Brent Largent and wife, Mary Ellen of Chico; daughter, Carine and husband, Steve Nelson and their two children, Amanda, and Alex also of Chico; brothers, Roland Gertjejansen of St. Paul MN and Doyle Gertjejansen of New Orleans, LA; a sister, Marge Miller and husband, Wally of Bloomington, MN, also special aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was a proud and active member of Fraternal Order of Eagles #218 and a Life Time Member of the Chico Elks Lodge #423.

A Military Memorial services will be held at the Newton-Bracewell Funeral home on Monday August 18, 2008 at 11 a.m. with a celebration of his life to follow at the Eagles Lodge.

In honor of Leon, memorials could be given to the Development Dept, Guide Dogs for the Blind.

You may share your thoughts and memories of Leon online at nbcfh.com.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Aug. 6, 2008
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