Obituary of Leo E. Isenbart
Leo Eugene Isenbart was born August 22, 1939 to Cecil and Edith (Hart) Isenbart in a house west of Alva, Oklahoma. Leo was the seventh of nine children. The family lived in Alva until August of 1946, when they moved to Stratton, Colorado, to a farm south of town. He passed from this life December 11, 2019 at Burlington, Colorado
On Labor Day of 1949, Leo was severely injured in a gasoline fire accident, which caused third degree burns on his back and arms. He spent four months in Kit Carson County Memorial Hospital, and received three different experimental skin grafts. He got out of the hospital just a few days before Christmas. Because of this, he had to learn to walk again and missed a year of school.
The house that they lived in on the farm had only two heated rooms, the kitchen and living room. He and his brother Walt, slept in a bedroom that was not heated, and in the wintertime it was the perfect place to keep the cured bacon and ham, under their bed. On another farm, there was a sod house that they lived in that had poor windows and they often woke up in the morning with snow on their blankets.
Despite the hardships of some of the houses they lived in, and the rough years of farming during the dirt storms, Leo said he never remembered the family not having enough to eat. He said his mom could take a pound of hamburger and make it look like a feast. They worked hard on the farm, milked cows, raised beef and chickens, and always had a big garden. Many of the dust storms days were spent playing games like Canasta and Hearts, in-between chores and school and church. He also remembers his mom putting wet dishtowels coated with flour in the cracks of the doors and windows, to keep the dirt out.
Faith was a big part of Leo’s life, and he spent many years as an altar server, and helped the long-time pastor of St. Charles’ Church in Stratton, Fr. Edward Dinan, by driving him to Flagler on Sundays and serving for him at Mass. He remembers well when they built the new church, and practicing for his Confirmation before the pews had been installed. He also remembers the massive funeral that was held at St. Charles, after the tragic air show crash in Flagler, when several members of the parish were killed, most from the same family. There were five coffins lined up in the aisle, one that had a mother and a baby it.
Leo attended St. Charles’ Academy for eight years. At the start of his freshman year, he attended Julesburg High School, during which time he helped his older brother, Bernard build his house. While living with his brother and helping him, he also worked at the Safeway store, and at the Julesburg Advocate newspaper as a typesetter and doing other odd jobs. At midyear, he returned to Stratton and finished high school there, graduating in 1958. While at school, he lettered in football, took two years of Latin and lettered two years in the drama club.
After high school, Leo worked for Park Malone as a heavy equipment operator for a year.It was during this time that he met Linda Hoefer, and in the fall of 1959, he moved to Golden, to be closer to her, and worked for a drywall construction company. In November of 1961 he was called up into the draft, but was turned down because of the scars from the burns he had as a kid as well as vein issues in his legs.
On May 5, 1962, Leo married Linda and they began a family. In April of 1963, his daughter Lucinda (Cindy) was born. Later Leo and Linda moved to Julesburg, where he helped his brother, Bernard with his welding business. It was in June of 1964 that daughter Barbara (Barb) was born, and then one year (1965) and a day later, son Timothy (Tim) was born.
After a couple of years in Julesburg, Leo and Linda decided they wanted to be in Stratton, and they moved, and the family grew with the birth of Joseph (Joe) in 1966, and was completed with the addition of Matthew (Matt) in 1968. Stratton was the place they stayed for the rest of their lives.
When they moved to Stratton, Leo went to work for Ed Dischner at Dischner’s Grocery store. He was a projectionist at the Moon Theater for several years, as he and Linda ran the theater for Chad DeCastro. He then worked for the Kit Carson County road and bridge crew, which was followed in 1972 by working at Stratton Equity Co-op in the hardware store. In 1982 he started working for the school as a maintenance man. He also began driving a regular school bus route, and then when Sid Hubbard retired, he became the head of the transportation department, until he retired in 2002. After retirement he worked part-time at the Co-op hardware store, just to keep busy.
In 2004, he and Linda helped his brother-in-law run a produce stand at Eagle-Vail during the summer, and then the following year helped the same brother-in-law remodel an RV park on the western slope. While they were doing this, Leo and Linda would travel and did a lot of sightseeing. They made it to the Four Corners, Moab, and Salt Lake City, UT, and enjoyed long drives in the mountains and meeting many interesting people. When he was taking care of the buses for the school, he and Linda traveled to both Iowa and Georgia to pick up new buses for the school and drive them back to Stratton. They also made trips to see their son Matt when he was stationed at Ft. Benning in Georgia as a DI, to Ft. Hood in Texas in infantry duty and Dayton, Ohio where Matt was an ROTC instructor at Dayton University. There were many trips to Alva to see family, and some trips to Wichita, Kansas to see his sister and several aunts at the convent there.
Leo was the handiest man in the world, and was the guy that many friends and family went to if they needed work done on houses. He could do the plumbing, electrical, heating, drywall, everything needed to build a house. He commented that their home in Stratton was “under construction” for the first 15 years they lived there. In addition, he loved to work with iron, and built many sets of railings and decorative iron work around Kit Carson County. Some of the projects he did were the gazebo at the Carousel Park in Burlington, the gazebo and arch at the prayer park at St. Charles, the gazebo and gate at the Stratton public park, not to mention numerous railings for porches around the communities of Stratton and Flagler.
Leo was also a councilman for Stratton, was very involved in the community arts council, helping to build sets for several of the plays the group put on in the 1990s, ran the chains for Stratton’s home football games for many years, was a deputy marshal for Stratton when his children were young, as well as a member of the Stratton Volunteer Fire Department. At St. Charles’ Church, he taught in the religious education program, sang in the choir, took care of the grounds for many a year, was a Eucharistic Minister and Lector and supported many a bazaar.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Bernard Isenbart; sisters, Theresa Baylor and Ruth Kimminau; Agnes Isenbart (age 2) and Mary Margaret Isenbart (stillborn) son-in-law, William McCombs,brother-in-laws Pat Vacher and Ivan Hoefer; and sister-in-laws Eileen Vacher& Elizabeth Klocker; and grandson Richard Troyer.
He is survived by his wife, Linda, of 57 years, children Cindy McCombs, Barb (Randy) Troyer, Tim (Tami) Isenbart, Joe (Tonya) Isenbart, Matt (Angela) Isenbart; grandchildren Cathy (Cody) Mills, Kim Stichler, BJ (Kurt) Poulson, Angela (Doug) Hill, Jeremy (Stephanie) Isenbart, Mindy (Joe) Rush, Kali (Jordan) Nuffer, Anthony Isenbart, Sarah Isenbart, Jordan (Dalton)Darling, Justin Korbelik, Kaylee (Nate) Dunning and Steven Korbelik,Nick (Rebekah) Cisneros, Chrissy (Scott) Weickum and Jon Cisneros, Victoria Isenbart and Matthew Isenbart; great grandchildren, Darius & Khalie Mills, BillStichler, Rachel (Anthony) Hardwick, Dakota Suminsky, Danika and Braden Hill, Kyler, Konner, Keagan and Roxie Isenbart, Abbie & Devon Rush, Trinity, Tallon, Rhydian and Loretta Lynn Nuffer, Austin, Rylynn, Wyatt and Lukas Weickum, Micah and Amitel Cisneros,Orrin Hoffman and Cheyenne Hardwick. He is also survived by a brother, Walt (Angie) Isenbart and sisters, Sr. Mary Cecil Isenbart, and Cecilia (Darrell) Fox, aunts, Sr. Sedonia Isenbart, Sr. Margaret Ellen Isenbart, and brothers-in-law Mark Klocker, Leonard Hoefer and Donny Hoefer, as well as a host of nieces, nephews and many good friends.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (www.stjude.org) in Leo's memory and may be left at or sent to TBK Bank, PO Box 286, Stratton, Colorado 80836.
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