Leonard Hobbs Eshom was born Aug. 1, 1928, to a ranching family on a homestead founded in the early 1900’s by his grandfather, George Thomas Eshom, and three sons, Art, Paul and Maurice. He spent his early years there, and went to rural one-room school, frequently on horseback, and where he was one of two or three students. When he was five, a sister, Pauline joined the family, and was considered by him to be quite a nuisance, as she “bawled all the time.” Following Pauline, two more sisters, Eleanor, and Mary rounded the family.
Leonard loved the out-of-doors, hunting and riding, but did not take to ranching all that much. After high school, he and boon companion, Duane Fertig, decided Alaska would be a grand adventure, so without parental input, off they went. They worked at various jobs for a number of months and came back to Wheatland, but Leonard had been bitten by the Alaska bug and returned later that next year, where he lived and worked until the onset of the Korean War. In 1950, the Wyoming National Guard was activated, and he joined up and went off to boot camp in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and then on to Korea where he served until his discharge in 1952.
In 1953, Leonard married Rita Mae Piper, and three children were born to them. Christine Len (Drew) Ludwig, Michael Paul (Sherry) Eshom, and Kimberley Michelle (Jeff) Hutson. About this time, he became fascinated by the oil fields, and worked in a variety of places during the early days of that industry. On the death of his father, Paul Eshom, in 1960, Leonard and his family moved back to the Eshom ranch in Wheatland where he ranched with his mother, Ruth until 1968. The oil business being his first love, he happily went back to that, and there spent the remainder of his work years. There was little geography, regarding oil, that he didn’t know, and had many interesting stories to tell of the “old days” of drilling.
In 1970, Leonard and Rita divorced, and in 1972, he married Julia Schoolcraft. He continued to work in the oil business until 1986, when he retired. He and Julia moved to Casper and were living until Julia’s death in 2004.
Finding himself at loose ends, and being a real “people person”, Leonard became a Senior Companion for Natrona County Senior Services, and spent several years helping “old folks”, many younger than himself.
In 2016, being aware of advancing years and failing health, Leonard moved to Home Lake, Colo., to the Colorado Veteran’s Home where he found companionship and much in common with the residents, with whom he had many rousing card games and swapped lots of stories. He was much loved by the staff, there, and was given great care by the nursing staff in his final days.
Leonard Eshom passed from this life into the arms of his savior, Jesus Christ, on May 1. He will be sorely missed by his family, grandchildren, Amber, Will, Paul, Eugene, Carly, Jackie, and five greatgrandchildren. But we do not mourn as those without hope, because we will see him again in Glory.
At this time no date has been set for a Celebration of Life service, which will be held at First Christian Church, Wheatland.