KALISPELL – Leonard Earl Marshall, age 94, passed away on Friday, March 19, 2010 at the Heritage Place in Kalispell.
He was born on Aug. 17, 1915, near Somers, the oldest of three sons and one daughter to Fred and Marguerite (Lawrence) Marshall.
Leonard’s family first came to the Flathead Valley in 1910 when his paternal grandparents moved here from Coffeyville, Kan. Leonard’s father and grandfather both worked in the oilfields around southeast Kansas. While on a scouting trip to find a place to move to in Canada, Leonard’s grandparents traveled through the Flathead and decided to move to Kalispell instead. His father also moved to the area shortly afterward. Subsequently, Leonard’s father Fred met and married Marguerite “Billie” Lawrence from Dayton. Leonard’s maternal grandfather Elmer Lawrence was a boat builder by trade and also built the early lodge buildings (which later burned down) on Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake. The Lawrences also built the Dew Drop Inn in Dayton and operated it as a boardinghouse for many years.
Leonard lived with his family in the Somers and Dayton areas as a youngster before moving with the family to Roundup, where his father was employed in the oil fields. In 1925, Leonard and his brother Harland moved back to the Lower Valley area south of Kalispell to live with their grandparents, William and Emma Marshall. Leonard and Harland grew up on their grandparents’ farm and attended Hodgson Grade School and Flathead High School. Leonard later attended a diesel mechanic trade school in Portland.
Except for the time spent at the Portland Trade School, Leonard lived at the Lower Valley farmstead since 1925. As a young man he worked on his grandparents’ farm and assisted his grandparents in providing some of the area’s earliest custom grain threshing services.
This was done by providing work crews, a steam engine together with water and fuel, a stationary threshing machine and horses and wagons for grain bundles.
Leonard started farming full time for himself in 1935 when he rented the farm from his grandparents. He first operated with horse-drawn implements and made the transition to tractor power in the late 1930s.
In 1939, Leonard and Corlea Nees were joined in marriage, a union that endured for nearly 60 years before Corlea’s death in 1999. Two sons, Duane and Terry, were born in the 1940s.
Over the years, he primarily raised grain and hay, ran a cow-calf herd and raised pigs in a complete farrow to finish the operation. He remained active in the farming operation even after son Duane started running the farm in 1995.
In addition to being a devoted husband and father and grandfather, he was active in several community activities. These included service on the local school board and the board of directors of Equity Supply Co., a local farmer’s cooperative. He was also active for many years as a member of the Church of the Nazarene.
In addition to his wife Corlea, he was preceded in death by his sister Helen Strom of Merced, Calif.; and his brothers Harland of San Diego, Calif., and Fred of Helena.
He is survived by his two sons and their families, Terry Marshall and his wife Patti of Billings, and their children, Mike, Tom and Krista; and Duane Marshall and his wife Patsy and their children, Lissa, Jill and Jennifer; and seven great-grandchildren.
Private family services will be held at a later date.
You are invited to go to www.jgfuneralhome.com to offer condolences and view Leonard’s tribute wall.