Leslie Lewis, 94, of St. James formerly of Lewisville passed away on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 at Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato.

Leslie Lewis, 94, of St. James formerly of Lewisville passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 at Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato. A celebration of his life will be 10: 30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24, at First Presbyterian Church in St. James with Rev. David Lick officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery in St. James. Visitation will be at Sturm Funeral Home Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m., and at the church one hour before services on Wednesday. You may send the family condolences online at www.sturmfh.com. Arrangements are with Sturm Funeral Home in St. James. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Watonwan County Historical Society in Madelia, or charity of your choice.

Leslie was born in Oct. 4, 1924, on the family farm near Lewisville, the third of four children (James, Ralph, Leslie, and Betty). After graduating from Truman High School in 1942, he attended the University of Minnesota until joining the Marine Corps, where he served from 1944-1946. Upon his discharge Leslie was united in marriage on Sept. 14, 1946, with the love of his life, Gladys Phipps, in Burlington, Wis., and returned to his education at the U of MN, graduating with a degree in Ag Education in 1949. Leslie and Gladys then moved to a farm near Lewisville where they began farming and raising a family, a life he loved that spanned the next 63 years. He was never interested in being the largest farmer but took great pride in making the most of the acreage he did farm. He was an early adopter of innovative farming practices and raised a variety of crops, including sugar beets all while working to be a good steward of the land. Leslie and Gladys moved off the farm in 2012, but he never really left it. As a testament to his love of farming, Leslie was still getting reports on the progress of fieldwork during his final hours. Integrity, loyalty, dependability, perseverance, and community service were values he lived his life by and instilled in his children by word and deed. At various times he served on church boards, the school board, as township clerk, and for many years was a member of the co-op board (now CFS). Many farmers may also remember Leslie as their local Pioneer Seed dealer. Leslie loved being with his family and especially enjoyed the spirit and enthusiasm of the young children. Leslie loved Minnesota Gopher sports, and for 72 years, through thick and thin, he was a proud holder of football season tickets.

Left to mourn his passing are his wife of 72 years, Gladys; sister-in-law Mollie (Roy) Kuhlman, Winthrop; children: Marcia Lewis (Gene Kurata), Burnsville, Jim (Jennifer) Lewis, Hackensack, Denise Lewis (Pat Skelly), Eagan, Ken (Gloria) Lewis, Lewisville, Karen (Terry) Duncan, Owatonna, Mary Ruble (Wayne) Johnson, St. Cloud; 21 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. Pre-deceased by daughter, Kathy, and son-in–law, Chad Ruble.