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Obituary: Kenneth Eugene "Bud" Lesley

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Obituary: Kenneth Lesley

September 6, 1921-July 1, 2015

SALMON | Kenneth Eugene Bud Lesley of Salmon, Idaho departed this earth on July 1, 2015 to be with his Father in Heaven. At last he succumbed to complications of cancer and old age. He is now free of pain, worldly woes, and his worn out body.

Bud was born on September 6, 1921 at home in South Whitley, Indiana to parents George and Esther Wolfe Lesley. He was farmed out to work for other farmers at age nine. He was brought up in a Christian home along with his sister Emogene. He attended a country school called Bash Hill School house.

He married Jeannette Beachler on April 7, 1941, and to this union six children were born. They divorced in 1960. On September 26, 1967, he married Gayla Losser in the Lutheran church on the corner of Pleasant and Malarkey Streets in Winnemucca, Nevada, and her father Pastor Carl Losser officiated the ceremony. This is Bud and Gayla's 48th year together. They have one daughter.

Bud led a full life and saw many changes from work horse to tractor to automobile to airplane. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II because many of his friends had, and he thought that was the thing to do for his country. He served on the LST 1001 and LCI (G) 469.

After the war, he found work doing many things. He drove truck for Safeway hauling watermelons from west to east. He worked dude ranches, kids camps, ranches, pack outfits, logging outfits, and guide services. He spent many summers cutting, baling, and putting up hay. He was a top hand and could make useful tools; if he needed a part for equipment, he would make it. He learned to trim and shoe horses and mules and taught the craft at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. He used to put borium on shoes so the stock would have better traction on snow and ice. He was riding colts for Dale Roberston when he heard that President Kennedy had been shot. He hauled roping horses for the World Champion team ropers, Shorty Lovelady & Carl Arnold from each rodeo & competition they entered. He took Art Linkletter & his family on a pack trip into the Yosemite out of Red Meadows Pack Station. He ran Agnew Meadows for Bob Tanner and met an Idaho packer who preferred Deckers to Sawbucks by the name of Cal Call. They became friends but didn't meet up again until years later when Bud hired him to pack for Eakin Ridge.

He rode the rodeo circuit. He was riding saddle broncs when he met his future father-in-law at the Twin Falls County Fair. A horse went over backward in the chute with Bud on it. A local pastor went to visit that cowboy in the hospital. Ten years later that cowboy married the preacher's daughter. Gayla met Bud at the Heart Six Ranch in Moran, Wyoming in the summer of 1967. He didn't think much of the new preacher's kid that came to work there, but because she ignored him, he tried every which way to get her attention. She in turn was scared to death of this man who was bow-legged, chewed tobacco, yelled whoo-pah! and said words she wasn't familiar with. He was the packer, head wrangler, and horseshoer, and she was the cook's helper, waitress, and dishwasher. Close to summer's end, he won her over, and they got hitched.

Together Bud and Gayla traveled the West for ten years hoping to eventually find a place they both liked and settle down. They first came into the Salmon Valley from Challis in 1970, and liked the openness and feel of the mountains all around. They both felt that if they could find jobs one day they might be back to stay. About 1974 they drove up to Montana, once again driving Highway 93 through Salmon. They saw an ad at a restaurant in Wisdom looking for help husband and wife team at the Flying Resort Ranches: The Flying B and The Root Ranch. Gayla made a mental note and wrote down the phone number, and when they got into Salmon again they called. They got a job at the Root Ranch for the summer/fall season and spent part of a winter at the Flying B. Then they would go south to Tucson in the winter and come back each season for the next four years. They met LaMont Anderson who wanted to buy Eakin Ridge Outfitters and needed people to run it for him, as he couldn't get approval from the licensing board because he didn't have experience. So began a partnership that began in 1980 and ended in 2001, when Bud was diagnosed with cancer a shock as he was never sick: a cold might last a day, he didn't get headaches, he might feel tired but have a jelly sandwich and sugar with his coffee and he was fine but not this time.

Bud was preceded in death by his parents, sister and brother-in-law, ex-wife, his sons Gary and Jim, grandson Gary Jr., and infant daughter Shirley Ann.

He is survived by his wife Gayla of Salmon, Idaho, son Ronald and wife Lynne of Veneta, Oregon, son Albert and wife Mary of Columbia City, Indiana, daughter Kendi of Fairbanks, Alaska, step-mother Della Lesley of South Whitley, Indiana, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.Pall bearers are Tim Martens, Greg Boynton, Jeff Boynton, Tucker Burnham, Richard Anderson, and Tom Henderson. Honorary pall bearers are Bob Barningham, Roy Hoffman, Joann Carroll, Bernie Schwarz, Sam Hovey, Ron Russell, LaMont Anderson, Chris AC Smith, Bill White, Fred Porter, Johnny Cranney, Dr. Dennis Stevens, David Burnett, Tony Farace, Norm Bednarski, Dwina Noesbar, Hondo Cartmell, Debbie Kopp, Bob Myers, Stan Gines, Danny Browning, and all the cooks and waitresses who served Bud in the restaurants in Lemhi and Custer Counties.

Bud held membership in the following organizations: The American Legion Salmon Post #67, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association, the Lemhi County Humane Society, Salmon River Mule Club, Salmon River Chapter of Outfitters & Guides, and USS Landing Craft Infantry National Association.

Graveside services are Monday July 6, 2015 at 9 AM at the Salmon Cemetery with the American Legion Honor Guard. A memorial service will follow at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Highway 28 at 10 AM by Pastor Kevin Peterson. A potluck luncheon for all the family and friends will follow to gather share memories, pictures, stories, videos, and music at the Sacajawea Center between 11 AM and 3 PM. We'd be honored to have you join us in the celebration of Bud's life.

Bell Tower Funeral Home of Salmon is entrusted with arrangements and you may view his on-line memorial at


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Here, we remember south-central Idahoans who died. These photos were provided by families to accompany their obituaries in the Times-News.

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