Leonard Douglas Milburn (January 31, 1909 - May 25, 2003)

The Lusk Herald
May, 2003

Leonard Douglas Milburn

Leonard Douglas Milburn died May 25, 2003, at the age of 94 years, 114 days.

Leonard Milburn was born Jan. 31, 1909 at Torrington, Wyo., the second son of William Henry Milburn and Elizabeth Ann Roberts.

Leonard's earliest years were spent in California, after his mother passed away on his sixth birthday. He then moved with his Dad and his Uncle Roy to a ranch outside of Lusk. He graduated from Lusk High School in 1927.

Leonard started his automotive career as a night attendant at the Lusk Motor Company. After a few years of learning the ropes, Leonard's boss sent him to manage his other Ford dealership in Hot Springs, S.D. It was here he met his eventual partner, Cecil Sides. The two men founded Sides and Milburn Ford in Rushville, on May 6, 1936.

In 1940, Leonard thought it practical sense to marry his pretty young bookkeeper, Marie Skoda. They were married Sept. 11, 1940, at his sister Mabel's home in Sacramento. On their honeymoon trip, Leonard inducted Marie into the car business by selling their convertible at a gas station in Buffalo, N.Y. They rode home on the train!

In the decades that followed, Leonard served his community on many boards and committees. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and he could always be counted on to contribute or support any improvement to the city, Whether it was a baseball school, an airport improvement, sale barn, a hospital, a fire hall, a swimming pool, or a new golf course, Leonard would always help in any way he could.

At the time of his death, he was a Life Member of Chadron Elks Lodge 1339 and a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge.

A man of few hobbies, other than his work, in earlier years Leonard was an avid bowler and a licensed pilot. After the blizzard of '49 he put skis on his own plane to fly provisions out to isolated ranchers.

Leonard also enjoyed spending time with his kids, playing catch in the back yard, or teaching them how to be a pretty good shot with a 22 rifle.

In later years, he took great pride in sponsoring his son's drag racing team, and enjoyed traveling all over the Midwest following their exploits.

During his life, Leonard experienced our country's transition from the "horse and buggy," the Model T and the telegraph, to our modern jet air travel and high speed Internet communications. He saw us go from transcontinental train travel, to trips to the moon, and he always wondered what we would see in our life.

He was preceded in death by his wife Marie, who died July 3, 1976; his infant son Douglas Clayton; his older brother; and four sisters.

He is survived by one sister, Florence of Janesville, Wis., brother-in-law Clayton Skoda; son Doug and his wife Donna; daughter Ardis; son Leonard and his wife Carol; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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