Werner "Lefty" Leipold, passed away in Hot Springs Village on Sept. 15, following a short illness. He was 96.
Lefty was born in Immendingen, Germany on March 8, 1925, the oldest of two sons of Oskar and Hedwig Leipold. His parents immigrated to the United States and settled in Milwaukee when Lefty was 4 years old, where he remained until graduation from Washington High School. He was Vice President of his Junior and Senior classes and Sports Editor of the school's newspaper.
He often reflected on how fortunate and blessed he was to be brought to America as a young child. Growing up in Germany in the 1930's in his mind, was unimaginable.
Lefty's childhood dream was to be a professional baseball player – another Lefty O'duel. The war years and other issues caused those dreams to be unfulfilled. However, fate and his son Craig came to the rescue. For his 70th birthday he had the honor of throwing the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewer baseball game. A memorable picture of that moment hangs in his office.
After high school, Lefty enrolled in the Engineering School at the University of Wisconsin with just enough money to get through the first semester. The money problem was solved when on July 1, 1943 he enlisted in the Navy and was accepted in the first class of the Navy V-12 program designed to prepare young men for active duty as officers and completed his accelerated studies while on active duty at the university. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Following graduation as a mechanical engineer, he served in the Pacific theater on an attack transport and then a refrigerator ship. In the fall of 1947, after returning to the University for a year of Business School, he began what turned out to be a 40 year career with Kimberly Clark corporation.
On June 11, 1949, Lefty was indeed fortunate to marry a great gal from Little Rock, Betty Jo Hartsell, an American Airlines Flight Attendant recently transferred to Memphis from New York at her mother's insistence so that she wouldn't marry a Yankee. Ironic how things work out sometimes. The marriage endured for 65+ happy, exciting, adventurous and loving years.
Lefty's career included a number of geographic moves that took him on career paths in Engineering, Human Resources and Manufacturing. Among his varied assignments he had a tour of duty as the Plans Manager during construction and then the first Plant Manager of the Kimberly Clark plant in Conway. Conway was Lefty and Betty Jo's favorite assignment. Later he served as Vice President of Corporate Human Resources and then Managing Director of the Corporate Subsidiary in Germany.
Lefty retired in 1987 and he and Betty Jo moved to Hot Springs Village, where he served as secretary of the Public Works Committee and on the Board of Cedar Mountain Ambulance. He was an active volunteer in the Village and a member of the Kiwanis Club and Christ of the Hills Methodist Church.
In the fall of 2015 he moved to an apartment at Good Samaritan where he spent six happy years. Many residents were privileged to enjoy "Werner's Wonderful Belgian Waffles" either at breakfast gatherings in his apartment or when hand delivered.
Lefty enjoyed life and the older he became the more positive his outlook. He will tell you that he was truly blessed throughout his entire life.
Lefty was preceded in death by Betty Jo; (2014) and his daughter-in-law, Donna (2021).
He is survived by two sons, Lance of Hot Springs Village; along with granddaughters, Laura from Winston Salem, N.C., and Shannon from Dallas, Texas; and his son, Craig (Helen) of Racine, Wis.; and grandsons, Chris from Cape Coral, Fla., Connor (Veronica) from Washington, D.C., Sam from Key West, Fla., Bradford from Racine, Wis., and Kyle (Melissa); and great-granddaughters, Cora, Iva and Mara; and great-grandson, Everett from Cedarburg, Wis.
Funeral services will be held at Christ of the Hills Church, 700 Balearic Rd, Hot Springs Village, AR 71909 at 1 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2021.
In lieu of flowers, the family recommends making gifts to Teen Challenge of Arkansas or the Boys and Girls Club of Hot Springs Village.