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Robert Lester “Bob” Leath

Robert Lester “Bob” Leath was born on July 21, 1924 and grew up on the family ranch on Dead Horse Creek of Powder River in eastern Johnson County. He was 3rd oldest of 6 children- oldest was twin sisters Helen and Ellen “Betty”, George, Alan and Ann. Bob helped his folks run the Hereford cattle ranch and ran a trap line in the winter for extra money, he also broke a lot of horses and helped neighbors.


As a young kid, he would help trail cattle to Arvada, Wyoming to put cattle on the train to Omaha, Nebraska where he would ride along to deliver them. He used to make the 40 mile, one way, ride to Buffalo to get horses to break. He would then trail them back to Dead Horse, break them and trail them back to Buffalo. He was a jack of all trades and self-sufficient on the ranch; he pulled his own water wells, worked on all his own machinery and harnesses and always figured out a way to make things work on little or no money.


His father, Jim, passed away from a heart attack in 1933, so the family continued to work the ranch with help from neighbors and hired men. Bob attended a country school and a few days of 8th grade, then called it quits to go back to the ranch.


Bob was in the United States Marines but was given a medical discharge after a few months so he came back to the ranch.


He was a Farm Bureau member, American Legion member, Rural Johnson County school board member, and track judge at the Johnson County Rodeo for years and enjoyed hunting and fishing, riding broncs, team roping, playing cards and spending time with family, friends and neighbors.


At a country dance he met Elynor Faure’ (her step father was Santiago Curuchet) and they were married on August 7, 1947. As of this time all the other siblings married and moved away so he and his wife, Elynor, were to work the ranch and raise cattle and sheep. They had 4 children; Joyce, Celia, Daniel “Dan” and Michele “Chele”.


After the blizzard of 1976 nearly wiped out all of their sheep, they decided to go mainly with cattle. Bob and his family would run the dude string for Paradise Guest Ranch at their ranch on Dead Horse in the winter, then in the Spring they would trail them back to Paradise (in the Big Horn Mountains), it was usually a 4 or 5 day trip one way. He also guided hunters out of Paradise Guest Ranch with Jack O’Brien in the fall and guided out of state hunters on the ranch and neighboring ranches on Powder River for deer, antelope and elk.


Bob continued to ranch until late 2003 when they retired and moved to town. He helped his children, neighbors and friends with their livestock and enjoyed his life until March of 2014 when he passed away, with his boots on.


Bob was from the generation of cattlemen who truly knew what it was to ranch and raise livestock in rough country, not for the faint of heart. He was a man of honor and always kept his word, helped a neighbor and kept his family and livestock fed and cared for even when times were tough. He loved ranch life and knew it was a life fit for him.

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