Leon Kenneth Edmunds, 84, of Manhattan, KS, passed away peacefully at his small family farm near Yuba, WI on July 26, 2013 of congenital heart failure after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Leon was born to Isaac and Christine (Hollerup) Edmunds of Madison, WI on March 25, 1929. His early years spent on Badger Road taught him the value of hard work and self-discipline. Leon enjoyed percussion and served in the Madison Drum and Bugle Corp during reconstruction in Europe after WWII. In addition to his cross-word puzzle prowess, he had a lifetime passion for bird-watching, which was evident in his maintenance of his purple martin houses, participation in the annual Audubon Christmas bird count, and his enjoyment of the soaring eagles near his Rocky Ford home.
Leon was married to Patricia Imhoff of Highland, WI on September 23, 1950 in Madison, WI. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1958.
Leon's overall commitment to leaving things better than he found them underscored his success as a faculty member with the USDA at Kansas State University and later as a pathologist for the alfalfa breeding program with Pioneer Hi-Bred International at Yuba, WI.
His enthusiasm for life led to co-founding Kaw Valley Greenhouses in Manhattan, KS in 1967, and later expanded into dairy farming to supply milk for cheese production in southwest WI in 1978.
Leon married Alice (Burns) Birnbaum on Jan. 13, 1990, and they enjoyed their many travels together, especially a trip to Denmark to visit his mother's hometown and meet family there. Leon was a member of Seven Dolors Catholic Church.
He was preceded in death by his loving first wife, Patricia Imhoff Edmunds on Sept. 3, 1987; his parents and his siblings Sam, Marvin, Tillie, Esther, and Doris.
Leon is survived in life by his kind and giving second wife Alice Edmunds of Manhattan; daughters, Pam (Dave) Beardsley, Terry (Mike) Olson, and Chris (Dan Parcel) Edmunds of Manhattan; and Jeanne (Randy) Walker of LaFarge, WI; sons Eric (Diann) of Albuquerque, NM; Pete (Teresa) and Joe (Robin) of Manhattan; John (Denise) of Hillsboro, WI; and Knute (Cindy) of Manhattan; Alice’s children, Jeff (Cindy) Birnbaum and Theresa (Tracy) Crubel of Manhattan; Bruce (Allison) Birnbaum of Olathe; and Renee Birnbaum of Shawnee, by his many grandchildren and great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
Courageously fighting the effects of Parkinson's disease for nearly two decades, his desire to enjoy every day offered to him inspired many of those around him. Family always came first for Leon, spending much time working and laughing together and playing his favorite card games.
Mass of the Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, August 6th, at Seven Dolors Catholic Church with Father Joseph S. Popelka as Celebrant. Inurnment will be held at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery southeast of Manhattan. The Yorgensen Maloan Londeen Funeral Home of Manhatten, Kansas and the Pratt Funeral and Cremation Service of Richland Center, Wisconsin are assisting the family with their arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.ymlfuneralhome.com or prattfuneralservice.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to either the Meadowlark Hills Parkinson’s Support Group of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.