Kenneth “Kent” H. Leatherman, 102, Woodstock, died peacefully Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, surrounded by his family at Hearthstone Manor.
He was born Nov. 12, 1914, to Robert and Helen (Lichtenstein) Leatherman in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He graduated in 1933 from Davenport High School, Davenport, Iowa; in 1938 from Wessington Springs Junior College, South Dakota; and in 1946 from Seattle Pacific College, Washington.
On June 5, 1939, he married the love of his life, Iona B. Gillette, in Sioux Falls, S.D. They enjoyed 66 years together until her death June 7, 2005.
They were both lifelong members of the Free Methodist Church, and as partners they pastored seven churches in the Dakotas and Wisconsin for 24 years, followed by serving as houseparents for five years at Yellowstone Boys Ranch in Montana and the Woodstock Children’s Home, Woodstock. He then worked for 10 years as a social worker for the Illinois Department of Mental Health in Elgin before retiring in 1983.
Joyfully following the way of Jesus, he loved God and “his neighbor” without discrimination, “walked humbly on the earth,” and blessed the lives of countless people. He was a tireless advocate for people in need and shared his own resources generously. In the 1980s he and his wife sponsored several Laotian refugee families, happily sharing their home, time and energies, and coming to dearly love and be loved by them all.
He worked hard but together with Iona enjoyed many simple pleasures, which included playing table games, walking and camping, hosting holiday and birthday celebrations, reading, singing, bird-watching, gardening, traveling and wholeheartedly sharing and participating in the lives and activities of his beloved family. He was a fun, winsome, gentle man with a sparkle in his eye, and was beloved by all who knew him.
Survivors include his children, Jay (Wendy) Leatherman, Woodstock, Cheryl (Wilbur “Butch”) Austin, Lancaster, Wis., Alden (Marietta) Leatherman, Portland, Mich., Craig (Beth) Scandrett-Leatherman, St. Louis, Mo.; 11 grandchildren, Neal (Denise), Renee (Scott), Janelle (Randy), Andrew (Courtney), Joel (Jenny), Jedd, Molly (Michael), Emma, Abby, Luke (Chelsea) and Cara (Andrew); 11 great-grandchildren, Sierra, Nolan, Blake, Glinden, Skylar, Sophia, Willow, Audrey, Raina, Liam, and Adalyn, coming to Luke and Chelsea in October; two sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; two grandchildren, Jennifer and Jonathan; three sisters, Mildred Davis, Gertrude Kenney and Margaret Mack; two brothers, Lester and Robert; and several brothers- and sisters-in-law.
A celebration of Kenneth’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Woodstock Free Methodist Church, 934 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock. The Rev. Randy Waller will officiate, with the Rev. David Cooper assisting. Interment will be private.
Fresh or dried homegrown or wild grasses and flowers would be welcome. Memorials received will go to Free Methodist International Child Care Ministries Haiti Fund.