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Leslie Owen Mergelman, 77, passed away at his home in Elm Creek, Nebraska, on Friday, May 12, 2023. He was formerly of Cedaredge, Colorado. Les was born Feb 8, 1946 to Warren and Margaret Mergelman in Gunnison, CO. Following college at Colorado State University, Les married the love of his life, Dorothy Jean, on March 25, 1972. From this marriage came two children.
Les and Dorothy started their life together in Canon City and Buena Vista, CO, where he held positions in CSU Extension and the local sale barn. A college friend recruited Les into banking in 1974, and Les’ banking career took he and Dorothy to Fleming, Steamboat Springs and Gunnison before landing them in Dorothy’s hometown of Cedaredge, CO. They remained there for 37 years before relocating to Nebraska.
Les’ passions were to advance banking, agriculture, and youth programs. He worked for many years in the independent banking venue where he retired from Olathe State Bank. Les had a huge desire to continually better himself and those who were around him. He worked on many local, county, and state committees for banking and finance and was a Past President of the Independent Bankers of Colorado.
Les grew up on a family ranch in the Gunnison River Valley and remained active in agriculture to his final day. Some of Les’ fondest memories were from his high-school years working on a ranch in Powderhorn, CO, where he put up hay and rode lots of miles on horseback. He continually worked to advocate for agriculture by serving on boards such as the Delta County Planning Commission, Farmhouse Fraternity and the Colorado Agricultural Leaders Forum.
Though Les worked in banking and agriculture, the one passion from which he never tired, was local youth development. Les was very active in 4-H and FFA as a member in his own youth, having traveled to Iran as a 4-H IFYE exchange delegate in 1968. Les volunteered for several years on the Delta County Fair Board and was a past Chairman of the Colorado State Fair Commission. In his summer months, Les could be found behind the microphone announcing youth livestock shows and Little Britches Rodeos. He was a lifetime member of the National FFA Alumni Association and donated generously of his time to local FFA chapters in the area.
Although Les retired from banking, his devotion to the betterment of business, people and his town did not wain. Instead, Les sunk his energy into Club 20, an organization aimed at furthering political agendas to better the 20 western counties of Colorado. He was an active member 45 years, having served as President of this organization for two of those. He and his wife, Dorothy, were honored for their service just prior to their relocation.
Many grew to know Les as the master of the grill. He often sought opportunities to share his love of cooking with others, many recalling every Labor Day Sunday at the Mergelman house…a place where the lamb skewers turned, the bean pot was hot and Les was stoking the fire. If anyone left hungry, it was his own fault!
Les was preceded in death by his parents, Warren and Margret Mergelman. He leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Dorothy Jean. His son, Crandal, and his wife, Jimmie, reside with their two kids, Ryann and Cutler, in Rangely, CO. Les’ daughter, Kari, and her husband, Matt, live in Elm Creek, NE, with their two children, Jameson and Scarlett. Les also leaves behind his brothers and sister and their families: Rudl and Darlene Mergelman, Stan and Cara Faulds, and Craig and Lindsay Mergelman.
Memorial services will be held on Monday, May 22. Internment is at 10:00 AM at the Cedaredge Cemetery. Celebration of Life is planned for 11:00 AM at the Eckert Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Cedaredge, Rangely or Elm Creek FFA programs.
Monday, May 22, 2023
10:00 - 11:00am (Mountain time)
Monday, May 22, 2023
11:00 - 11:00am (Mountain time)
Eckert Presbyterian Church
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