Lenard Ribordy, 91, of Oakley, died Friday September 29, 2017. He was born August 29, 1926 on a farm northwest of Grainfield to parents, Levi and Margaret (Trembley) Ribordy. He grew up on this farm with seven brothers and sisters. In 1943, as a seventeen-year old, Lenard traveled to Kansas City to enlist in the Navy. His amphibious training was received at Farragut, Idaho. He also spent time in Little Creek, Virginia, and completed his high school degree in Newport, Rhode Island. Ultimately, at quartermaster rank and with the job of navigator, Lenard served in the South Pacific on the USS LSM 227, a supply ship for the American South Pacific fleet. His ship entered Nagasaki five days after the atomic bomb had been dropped and Hiroshima too. He was part of an occupation force.
In 1946, after World War II had ended, Lenard returned to Kansas where he worked as a carpenter in Oakley. It was where he would meet Pauline Heinrich on a blind date and just two months later ask her to marry him. On August 26, 1947 they were married in Grainfield.
As a married couple, Pauline and Lenard lived in Oakley where he continued to work as a carpenter and later as a farm hand. Two years later they moved to Grainfield where Lenard entered into a business venture with another individual and opened R & R Body Shop.
Just as his new shop was beginning to take off, so too did he and Pauline’s family. In the next few years Sheila, Loretta, and Keith were born. It was around this time that Lenard became busier with the shop because he became sole owner after buying out his partner. Even though the shop demanded so much of his time, he was still able to tend to the chickens in the coop, hunt with his English retriever, and spend time with Pauline and the kids.
Just when the family seemed settled, Connie and then Leanna were born. Now with five kids, more room in the house became a necessity. So Lenard used his carpentry skills and built on a new addition. It was a wise decision, because a few years later Donita and Kristy were born.
On weekends Lenard would take his family boating on Cedar Bluff lake. It was one of their favorite activities. Socially, Lenard and Pauline enjoyed square dancing and round dancing with their friends in the Jolly Time Dancing Club and being active in the American Legion.
Many years after Lenard opened the body shop, he developed respiratory problems. It was found that he had developed an allergy to car paint. This necessitated his leaving the Body Shop and selling it to his brother. Lenard then worked as a school bus driver and janitor for the Grainfield school system, as well as selling insurance.
Because Lenard enjoyed the sport of baseball, he helped start the Gove County American Legion baseball team. He also became certified as an Amateur Softball Association Umpire and eventually became the District Commissioner for the ASA, a position which required the training of other umpires. Lenard was active in both his children’s baseball and softball teams, serving at times as coach, assistant, and supporter.
In 1965, the family moved to Oakley where Lenard became the manager of Western Auto. The family settled in a large house on Freeman Avenue where they were to remain for almost two decades.
In 1970 Lenard left Western Auto to become a salesman for the Lambert Manufacturing Company selling gloves, hats and other products throughout Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. It was during this job that he was hit by a semi-truck, resulting in a back injury which required him to retire from the job. So Lenard turned his attention to the Oakley Recreational Commission. In this role, he was instrumental in getting the four-diamond ball complex built. During this time he also sold Bon Del water purifiers and Westinghouse appliances
In retirement Lenard also spent time driving both the hospital bus and the senior citizen bus. He also served as the Director for the Senior Citizen Board. He enjoyed gardening, playing cards, and spending time with his family.
Lenard was a member of St. Joseph Catholic church where he once served as a Eucharistic Minister and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also a proud veteran of World War II and of the United States Navy. Lenard was a member of the American Legion.
Just years ago, Lenard was able to join the Heartland Honor Flight to visit and reflect at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. Here he was honored for his sacrifice and service to our country. It was one of his most cherished moments of his long life.
Lenard now joins his wife Pauline and daughter Sheila in God’s holy kingdom along with his parents; brothers, Kenneth and Leon and sisters, Madeline Rumback and Marcelene Rowland.
He is survived by his son Keith (Michele) Ribordy, Oakley; daughters, Loretta (Fred) Teeter, Oakley, Connie (Kim) Jonely, West Jordan, UT, Leanna VanDonge, Oakley, Donita (Everett) Harper, Lenexa, KS and Kristy (Glenn) Sears, Howells, NE; 14 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren and sisters, Rita Truetken, St. Louis, MO, Maryann Racette, Oakley and Marcella Albers, Oakley.
Visitation will be 5-7:00 p.m. Sunday, October 1, 2017, at Baalmann Mortuary, Oakley; with a vigil at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Mass will be 10:00 a.m. Monday, October 2, 2017 at St. Joseph Catholic Church with burial to follow in the church cemetery. Memorials are suggested to St. Joseph Catholic School, in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 204, Oakley, KS 67748. For condolences or information visit www.baalmannmortuary.com