Funeral services for Leonard Cheser, 92-year-old Chugwater resident who passed away Thursday at the home of his daughter in Buffalo, will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Chugwater Community Center in Chugwater with his sons Dan, Mike and Tim Cheser officiating. Visitation will be held from the Harness Funeral Home Chapel in Buffalo on Monday from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. Interment will be in the Iowa Flats Cemetery in Chugwater with the Wheatland VFW and American Legion in charge of military graveside services. Donations in Mr. Cheser’s memory may be made to the Chugwater Senior Center in care of the Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo. Online condolences may be made at www.harnessfuneralhome.com
Leonard Jess Cheser was born April 29, 1926 on the homestead at Windsor, N.D. to Jesse and Sarah (Dant) Cheser. Leonard learned to work at an early age. His dad, who grew up in Kentucky, and his mother in Iowa were farmers and also raised and broke horses. His dad would throw him up on a horse, and say “take him to the cows,” and the horse was ready for sale. Leonard drove a 4-hitch team of 2 mules and 2 horses and drove grain trailers to the elevator and loaded coal to return home. He worked for many neighbors, including Al and Kate Legler, Timmschs, Schultzs, and Luecks. Neighbors would stand in line asking for “the kid” to help them. Leonard joined the Army in June 1944, during WWII and was a machine gunner. His ammo bearer was a full-blooded Sioux from North Dakota. They walked across Europe and were in places they shouldn’t have been. After the war and returning home, he married Esther Murch in 1944, they later divorced. Leonard worked for the City of Jamestown, North Dakota for many years but his favorite job was running ice skating rinks, mainly at Klaus Park and working with the kids of all ages. Leonard loved his horses, he always said you work with horses but you got to mess with cattle. He loved his cowboy life. He was a member of the Circle Cross Riding Club and the Palomino Horse Breeders of America.
Leonard married the love of his life, Lila Mae Clemens on Feb. 1, 1957. They were sweethearts before the war. Their marriage joined their daughter Kitty with three sons, Dan, Tim, Mike and another daughter Roxanne. Leonard and Lila decided to pioneer the family to Wyoming in 1967 and Cheyenne was the goal. They went to work for the Larry Jordan Ranch at Iron Mountain for sixteen years working with horses and cattle and teaching their sons the ways of ranching. They moved to Lusk working for the Don and Doris Cundall Ranch and doing day work for other ranches located in Wyoming. Leonard and Lila both loved the mountains calling them “home.” They returned to Chugwater, WY after retirement, settling on the Wilkerson Ranch. When at the Jordan Ranch, Chugwater meant school for the children and a terrific community welcomed them. They raised a grandson, Kelton Lorenzen teaching him the ways of the “ole cowboy”. They both enjoyed several years of driving horses and outriding in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Parade with their son Tim.
Lila passed in November 2008 and the following Spring Leonard moved into Chugwater and lived with his daughter, Kitty. After Kitty retired they moved to Buffalo where they were closer to more family. He continued living in Buffalo until his death.
Leonard was the last surviving sibling of his and Lila’s families. He is survived by two daughters, Kitty Cheser, of Buffalo and Roxanne Vossler of Wheatland; three sons Dan Cheser and his wife Jody of Spotted Horse, Tim Cheser and his wife Vikki of, Cheyenne and Mike Cheser and his wife Norleen Kaycee. He has twelve grandchildren, twenty-eight great grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren. He also has numerous nieces and nephews throughout the U.S. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, one brother, four sisters, one granddaughter and one great-grandson. Our ole cowboy topped his last hill, joined hands with his loving wife and rode off into the sunset.