John O. Leece, 86, of Omaha, NE and formerly of Essex, IA entered into rest on Tuesday morning, August 13, 2019 at Nebraska Methodist Hospital in Omaha.
Celebration of life funeral services for John will be held on Monday, August 19, 2019 at 10:30 am at St. John's Lutheran Church in Essex with Pastor Ann Albert officiating. The family will greet relatives and friends with visitation and viewing from 3:00 to 5:00 pm Sunday, August 18 at Nishna Valley Funeral and Cremation Service in Shenandoah. Burial will take place in Rose Hill Cemetery in Shenandoah with military rites provided by the Shenandoah American Legion Post #88. Memorials, in lieu of flowers, as an expression of sympathy are being directed to the John O. Leece Memorial Garden Fund.
John Otis Leece was born on May 1, 1933, at rural Webber, Kansas the eldest child to Elven Scheib and Juanita Verda (Briles) Leece. He entered into rest on Tuesday morning, August 13, 2019 at Methodist Hospital in Omaha at the age of 86 years, 3 months, 12 days.
John grew up in the rural Lovewell, Kansas community. He graduated from Lovewell High School with the class of 1951 where he participated in football and basketball. He joined the United States Army during the Korean Conflict serving from May 1953 to May 1955 as a camouflage expert.
John was a proud graduate of the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1959 with an Animal Husbandry Degree. He remained a Husker enthusiast and enjoyed his football tickets, retaining the same seats in Memorial Stadium for over sixty years. He worked at the Stockyards in Omaha, Farmers National, and later owned and operated his own farm management/realty business. He retained membership with the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He experimented with new crops and ways to better help soil and production. He enjoyed driving the countryside and checking his crops of soybeans, corn and wheat. In his senior years he enjoyed working with his cow/calf operation. John was well known for his cooking and love of eating. He had the innate ability to always find the great out-of-the-way restaurants through all his travels.
On June 24, 1956, John and Marilyn Ann Pedersen were united in marriage at Hardy, Nebraska. To this union was born, Barry Wayne, Lorraine “Lorri” Kaye and John Patrick “Pat”. This union was later dissolved.
On August 29, 1978, John married Mary Jayne (Eipperle) Stepanek, they made their home in rural Essex, Iowa. They enjoyed searching the countryside hoping to find old forgotten treasures and give them purpose again. He gained four daughters with this union, Dixie, Kim, Diana and Stephanie. Jayne sadly passed away on December 30, 1999.
John got reacquainted with an old friend, Donna Irene (Earle) Hansen and they decided their friendship was a special one. They were united in marriage on January 25, 2004, in Omaha at King of Kings Lutheran Church. They enjoyed their many friends and family. Traveling to Arizona during the winter months was a highlight. There they were involved in many activities with friends which kept them very busy. Donna was a constant and loving wife. She was by his side when he passed.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his wife, Jayne; and nephew, Mark Bouray. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Donna Leece, of Omaha; seven children, Barry (Pam) Leece, of Syracuse, NE, Lorri (Marlin) Meyer, of Superior, NE, Pat (Carrie) Leece, of Essex, Dixie (Chuck) Gerhart, of Omaha, Kim (Tom) Wheeler, of Henderson, NV, Diana (Alec) Esquivel, of Celina, TX and Stephanie (Tony) Thiele of Missouri Valley, IA; his only sister, Kaye (Wilmer) Bouray, of Superior, NE; grandchildren, Chris (Jodi) Straw, of Shenandoah, IA, Taylor Dennis, of Syracuse, NE, Tuesday Straw, of Beatrice, NE, Cody Meyer, of Salina, KS, Chase (Meaghan) Wheeler, of Hendersen, NV, Amanda (Jon) Carlson, of Houston, TX, Cody (Jasmine) Wheeler, of Las Vegas, NV, Landon (Jessica) Esquivel, of Rhome, TX, Kristen (Tyson Gach) Henriksen, of Brooklyn, NY, Rachel Esquivel, of Celina, TX, Luke Thiele, of Omaha, Hana Esquivel, of Mankato, MN, Colton Leece, of Lincoln, NE, Lexi Leece, of Syracuse, NE, Cade Leece, Addison Leece, Lynlee Leece, and Lincoln Leece, all of Essex; great grandchildren, Gunnar Carlson and Caroline Carlson, both of Houston, Marshall Wheeler, of Hendersen, Madison Dennis and Jacob Dennis, both of Syracuse and Dax Straw of Shenandoah; step sons, Donald (Laurie) Hansen, of Omaha, Daniel (Janet) Hansen, of Hermosa Beach, CA, and Douglas (Sharon) Hansen, of Omaha; 14 step grandchildren; four step great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; other relatives; and a host of friends.