Leonard Keech, 96, of St. James died on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018

Leonard Keech, 96, of St. James died on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at the Luther Memorial Home in Madelia. Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 4, at First Lutheran Church in St. James with Rev. Matthew Seegert and Rev. Andy Hermodson-Olsen officiating. Burial with full military honors will be at Riverside Cemetery in Madelia. Visitation will be one hour before services at the church on Thursday. You may send the family condolences online at www.sturmfh.com. Arrangements are with Sturm Funeral Home in St. James.

Leonard Lee Keech, son of Clyde and Edith (Archerd) Keech was born May 3, 1922, at Bayard, Nebr. When he was 4 years old his family moved to Madelia, his mother’s hometown. He graduated from Madelia High School in 1939. He attended the University of Minnesota Ag Campus with his close cousin Lowell Mather. In March 1944, Leonard enlisted in the Army. He took basic training at Camp Maxey near Paris, Tex, where he was trained as part of a Chemical Co. (gas warfare). During WWII he served in France and Germany as a truck and jeep driver. He was honorably discharged on May 29, 1946. Leonard married Lila M. Mattson Oct. 30, 1946. They started their family and farmed together near Lamberton, Sanborn, and Revere before settling on their farm near Sveadahl where he raised dairy cattle, hogs, sheep and chickens at times. Leonard also did carpentry work when he wasn’t busy raising kids, animals and crops. Lila passed away in 1984. Leonard married Marcia Newberg on Dec. 5, 1984. They lived on her farm place until 2002, when they moved into St. James. Leonard was a member of the American Legion, West Sveadahl Lutheran Church, First Lutheran Church and he had been a resident at the Luther Memorial Home since February 2014. He enjoyed reading, fishing, watching baseball and smoking his pipe. But he especially enjoyed time with his grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Marcia, two sons: John (Janice) Keech, Robert (Denise) Keech; three daughters: Sharon (Mike) Eder, Carol Malzahn and Kathy (Michael) Pickard; Step-children: Keith (Lori) Newberg, Gail (Rob) Newberg-Thrond and Julie Newberg. Brother, Clyde Eldon Keech; sister-in-law, Dolores Keech; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and step-grandchildren; two brothers-in-law: Curt (Lorie) Frederiksen and Lee (Candace) Frederiksen and their families. He is preceded in death by parents; first wife Lila; son Billy at 22 months; two sisters and their husbands Marjorie and David Parker and Irene and Bob Lord; a brother Rev. Dudley Keech; three sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law, Mabel Reinitz, Doris Keech, Violet and Raymond Parker; son-in-law Sonny Malzahn and step-grandson Kyle Cole.