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Leonard Lodoen

Leonard Lodoen

Leonard Leroy Lodoen, 85, a lifetime resident of Westhope, ND, died peacefully with his wife and family at his side on Thursday, February 16, 2023 at the Baptist Health and Rehab Center in Bismarck, ND.

He was born in Westhope on March 17, 1937, the son of Clarence and Hazel Lodoen and the eldest of four children. He attended Westhope High School and was a key member of the basketball team which won the North Dakota Class “C” tournament in 1954. Upon graduation, he began a lifetime of farming and ranching north of Westhope, living on the same farm since1960. He refereed the basketball games of, and later married, Bette Henry on October 22, 1959. They were married for 46 years until her death in 2006. They shared many interests including their love of the rural life and history having co-authored “This Land of Mine,”a history of the local community and its homesteaders. They have four children: Jim, Toni, Penny and Matt. Leonard was supportive of his children, assisted them in pursuit of their many dreams and endeavors, and was proud of his grandchildren’s accomplishments whether in showing cattle, farming, sports, music or academics.

Leonard married Maysil Malard, a diabetes nurse educator and widowed farm wife, on June 27, 2015. Leonard spent the last 3 ½ years of his life in the Bismarck Health and Rehab Center where he enjoyed the daily visits by his loving and dedicated wife Maysil who lived a mile away.

Leonard liked farming but loved his cattle. His first experience showing cattle was in 7th grade when his steer earned him a white ribbon — last in the class-at the Bottineau County Achievement Days. He was determined to do better and the next year his steer was first in the red-ribbon group. After that he showed the grand champion the next three years in a row. From this start, he and his brother Myron, and their families, developed a nationally recognized herd of Hereford cattle and then a nationally recognized herd of Red Angus cattle under the name of L83 Ranch. He exhibited cattle at all the major national shows, resulting in many champions. He developed a reputation among cattlemen of both breeds as a known student of bloodlines, genetics and performance criteria. Cattlemen, young and old, sought his advice.

He was recognized as the International Seedstock Producer of the Year by the Beef Improvement Federation, Agriculturalist of the Year by the NDSU Saddle and Sirloin Club and along with his wife Bette, recognized as Golden Age honorees by the Bottineau County Crop Improvement Association. He and Bette were honorary Westhope FFA Chapter Farmers and he received the NDSU Outstanding Agriculturalist Award for Bottineau County.

He was also called upon to serve in many capacities including as a director and president of the American Hereford Association, being appointed by the Governor to serve on the North Dakota Board of Animal Health, and locally serving on the Westhope School board, Bottineau County School Reorganization Board, president of the Westhope Rural Fire Department, director of the Farmers Union Grain Elevator, director and president of the Bottineau County Fair Board, elder of the First Presbyterian Church, and as a leader for the B&W Livestock and Antler Farm Boys 4-H clubs. He also brought the motion and arranged support to have the state fair officially located in Minot.

Leonard is survived by his wife Maysil, his children Jim (Teresa) Lodoen, Toni (Myron) Broderick, Penny (Russ) Ballantyne, Matt Lodoen and daughter-in-law Jennie Lodoen, 15 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, his brother Mylon, sisters-in-law Patty Lodoen and Wanda Henry and Maysil’s children Kim (Doug) Rausch , Lowell (Shannon) Malard and Wendy (John) Wellmann, and their respective children.

Leonard was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Bette, son-in-law Joel Joraanstad, brother Myron, nephew Dusty Lodoen, infant sister Linda Lou, brothers-in-law Bob Henry and Clyde Kersten and sister-in-law Robin Kersten.

The family prefers memorials to the Westhope Volunteer Ambulance Service, Westhope Volunteer Fire Department or the Westhope Cemetery Fund.