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Ralph W. Leckner, 87, of Park Rapids, died Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 at his home in Park Rapids.

Ralph Wallace Leckner was born Dec. 16, 1925 to Ralph and Sarah (Sills) Leckner Sr. in Minneapolis. He attended school in Robbinsdale. He lived in Robbinsdale and Plymouth, until 1958.

He married Jean Madelon Lathrop June 20, 1946 in Minneapolis. They moved to Moorhead in 1958 and lived there until 1977.

In 1977, they moved to Park Rapids where they have resided since. He worked for Ed Phillips & Sons from 1943 until 1977 when he retired at age 51. He was a member of the First Congregational Church.

He was Man of the Year for Ed Phillips & Sons in 1960. He was a member of the Mantrap Valley Conservation Club (MVCC). He served on the REA Board of Directors from 1981 until 1993 and 1998 until 2002. Ralph also volunteered at Tamarac Wildlife Refuge.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman his whole life sharing this with his family, friends and the love of his life, Jean. His honesty and integrity were rock solid and he made sure this was something he passed on to his family. His ability to make people laugh was one of his greatest qualities, and kept this right to the end.

He worked hard and fast and was able to retire at age 51, moving immediately to Bottle Lake north of Park Rapids to the cabin he built with his gifted hands in 1959. His love of the outdoors led him to the MVCC where he did many things including feeding deer in the winter and using his carpentry skills to build wood duck and bluebird houses.

Tamarac Wildlife Refuge utilized those carpentry skills as well. He built and fixed whatever needed it; the biggest project being the Kiosk at the North Gate. He also helped band ducks for them.

He loved wildlife and not only enjoyed hunting or fishing but observing as well. Every trip they took whether it was canoeing in the Boundary Waters or camping in Glacier Park the highlight of all the trips was the wildlife they observed.

When time demanded he moved to town and left his wildlife friends at the cabin, he brought his binoculars and continued to watch for deer out the patio door of his SummerField Apartment.

He is survived by his wife, Jean of Park Rapids; son, Walt (Linda) Leckner of Park Rapids; two daughters, Diane Larson of Davenport, N.D. and Cory Olson of Moorhead; nine grandchildren, Damon Larson, Shelley Hubbard, Maddy Lukes, Jim Leckner, Patti Goodman, Ryan Leckner, Jake Olson, Alex Olson and Christopher Olson; siblings, Walter J Leckner, Ronnie (Shari) Leckner, Ida (Ed) Steidler, Harriet Beaverlander, Irene (Larry) Hennig and 18 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Sarah Leckner; infant son, Ted Leckner; and sisters, Audrey (Gene) Chancelor and Alberta (Mel) Benton.

Memorial service: 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 at Cease Family Funeral Home Chapel of Park Rapids. Lefty Anderson will sing "Nearer My God to Thee."

Visitation: one hour prior to the services.

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