Leonard Dahl passed away peacefully in the early morning at the Stettler Hospital on Friday, September 10, 2010 at the age of 87 years, after a brief but courageous battle with kidney failure. Leonard was born in Big Valley on September 15, 1922, the first of two children born to John (aka Jack) and Elsie Dahl. Leonard was predeceased by his father, John in 1968, his mother, Elsie in 1981, his sister, Eva in 2007 and his son-in-law, Norman Reynolds in 1996. Leonard is survived by Juliet, his loving wife of 55 years; their three children: David (Susan) Dahl of Stettler, Karen Reynolds of Big Valley and Larry (Anita) Dahl of Stettler; his six grandchildren: Danny Dahl, Steven Dahl, Colton Reynolds, Amanda Reynolds, Cadence Dahl, Shealyn Dahl; as well as his nieces: Carrol (Ed) Adams, Judy (Mark) Welpton, Twyla (Steven) Rodgers and their families; his aunt Faye Spencer of Stettler; many cousins and their families; Leonard is also survived by many of Juliet’s family and his many acquaintances and friends.
Leonard spent his early years in Big Valley where his father, John, a former cowboy and ranch hand for Burn’s Imperial Ranch, was working as a machinist helper for the CNR railroad. From 1927 until 1932, Leonard’s parents went to work for the Usher Ranches and that is where Leonard developed his passion for farming and raising cattle. He attended Snake Lake School while on the ranch and he became adept with horses while riding several miles each school day to attend classes.
In 1932 his parents bought their own farm south east of Big Valley and that is where Leonard began his farming career. At ten years of age Leonard acquired his first calf; he would raise and own cattle for the next 77 years. Leonard attended Jake’s Butte School until the age of 14 and he then began working full time on the family farm. Farming was difficult during the 1930’s and 40’s but with hard work and ingenuity the farm prospered.
In 1954 at a Halloween dance in Big Valley, Leonard met his soul mate, Juliet Hawley and three months later, on January 29, 1955 they were married, they would remain inseparable until his passing. Leonard and Juliet worked closely together on their farm for 52 years, until they retired from active farming in 2007 and moved to Stettler. Leonard had many interests, in his youth he liked playing baseball and hockey. He played “old timers hockey” in Big Valley until he was in his sixties. He enjoyed watching sports on TV as well; the Calgary Flames and Stampeder’s as well as the Toronto Blue Jays were his favourite teams. Leonard also loved camping; his favorite locations were the many campsites of the Rocky Mountains. Over the last 30 years he pursued the goal of finding and owning the “perfect” holiday trailer, much to the consternation of his wife, Leonard also enjoyed old farm machinery; he would often go to the Steam Days in Irricana which inspired him to acquire an old threshing machine and binder. In 1997 Leonard and his sons restored them and over the next few years he held several threshing bees which were well attended. Leonard loved to tell the stories of the old days of farming, of working with horses, the steam engines and threshing crews; stories of good crops and massive hailstorms, of his favourite machinery and his favourite cows. He often spoke of the changes in farming, from the days of steam power and horses to the modern equipment of today. There are many words that may be used to describe Leonard: Farmer, Cowboy, Pioneer, Husband, Father but his favourite was Grandpa.
A private family service will be held at Leonard’s request. Memorial donations may be sent to Stettler Health Services Foundation – Palliative Care. Sympathies may be sent to the family by signing the condolences page at:
Stettler Funeral Home and Crematorium
entrusted with the care and arrangements.