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Posted on May 4, 2021
Empty Saddles

Leon Nikkel 1939 - 2021

 Nikkel - Leon David Nikkel was born February 21, 1939 to Theodore P. and Helen Sarah (Schmidt) Nikkel. He went home to be with the Lord on February 11, 2021. He was 81 years old. He was a beloved husband and grandfather.

Leon graduated from Goessel High School in 1957 and went to Bethel College one year. It was during this time that he met his wife, Karen, who he later married. Leon and Karen Kay Rodgers were married on January 31, 1960. He was working two jobs, one at Hesston manufacturing, as a welder, and Builder's Concrete.

In the summer months, he would gather a crew and go custom harvesting, starting at Enid, Oklahoma, through Kansas into Sterling, Colorado and up into Gilette, Wyoming and into Wolf Point, Montana.

We lived in Newton at this time and in the fall moved to the Schmidt Farm North of his folk's home place, after Vince was born. We moved in August of 1961. During this time, he fed out cattle and farmed. In the winter, Leon drove a truck for Prouty Truck Line, hauling corn to the Port in Houston, Texas, then he would pick up cottonseed meal and deliver it to the local elevator.

Leon loved feeding out cattle and farming. Later he became involved in the Quarter Horse business for about ten years. He won many trophies with his horses, showing them at local fairs along with the Kansas State Fair. At this time he was working at the Salina Sale Barn as a ring man and worked there for many years. Also, during this time, Leon became involved in Team Roping. He would go to many team roping events at Hutchinson and other places. He won a saddle at one of the roping events which he had still enjoyed. Leon held roping events at the Hillsboro Saddle Club. He also held many ropings at home where many local team ropers came. He then struck out on his own and began a livestock order business and was still in business upon his death. He will be missed by many because of his thoughtful and kind ways.

Leon married Karen Kay Rodgers on January 31, 1960. Of this union was born a son, Vincent J. (Joshua) Nikkel on April 14, 1961. He later went home to be with the Lord on January 9, 2011.

Leon is survived by his wife, Karen of the home, and by his two granddaughters and grandsons, (Jandi) and Ramon Chavez and their daughter, Amelia of Valley Center, KS. and (Taylor) and Clayton Crandall of Concordia, KS.; brothers and sisters, (Joanne) Klassen, Hesston, KS., (Adella) and James Harmon, Cheney, KS., Ted Jr. and Joan Nikkel, Newton, KS. (Helene) and Loren Funk, North Newton, KS., (Nadine) and Virgil Epp, Elbing, KS., Kermit and Saundra Nikkel, Canton, KS., (Rose Mary) and Ed Templin, Rose Hill, KS., (Arylis) and Richard Goertzen, Beatrice, Nebraska.

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