LaVerne Lewis Leininger

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

LaVerne Lewis Leininger, 89, of Sheldon, Mo., passed peacefully on Nov. 9. He was surrounded by his close family and caregivers at Truman Health Care in Lamar. LaVerne was born on Jan. 1, 1930, in the family farm home just south of Sheldon. He was a third generation and lifelong resident of Sheldon, and was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd Leininger and Mabel (Shaver) Leininger. Also preceding him were his two sisters, Selma Sullivan and Arlene Nelson.

LaVerne is survived by his wife of over 70 years, Helen (Fowler) Leininger; their four sons, Gene, Greg, Gary, and Geoff; his brother, Wayne Leininger of Jerome, Idaho; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Graduates of Sheldon High School, LaVerne and Helen married in Eureka Springs, Ark., on Aug. 17, 1949. Much of their lives have been dedicated to every aspect of the Sheldon Christian Church where he was a lifelong member, church elder, and treasurer. One of his most rewarding duties was as the annual bible school craft coordinator. This allowed him to work with all the ‘fun stuff’ he loved — the cement mixing, the wood cutting — whatever was required for the kids to successfully complete their craft project.

LaVerne wore many hats along the way in his long life in Sheldon. One of his “longest worn hats” was his career at Sheldon State Bank. Beginning in 1959 as a teller, he worked his way to become the bank’s Vice-President. Over the years, he served the City of Sheldon as Mayor, City Council member, Sheldon Picnic Association, Sheldon Alumni Association, School Board member, and president of the Cemetery Association.

The favorite hat of his life, proudly displays a St. Louis Cardinals logo. Like his father, he was an avid Cardinals fan and listened to many games on radio, then watched on TV and was able to attend quite a few games in-person.

His major pastime was spent as a self-taught carpenter and wood-worker. He enjoyed building and restoring furniture. He always impressed with his skill, creativity, and results — on far too many projects to list here.

For many years, he enjoyed league bowling at Lamar and Nevada with his buddies from Sheldon.

While he may have come up just short on the lanes, he never rolled anything but a perfect game when it came to family. His retirement in the mid-90s allowed him even more quality family time — especially for his growing list of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

LaVerne and Helen began something one fall that became an annual tradition that they and the successive groups of grandkids all loved. They would go to the woods to cut down that years’ Christmas tree. Weather permitting; they would have a fire and a weenie roast. Then they’d take the tree home and decorate with gingerbread and popcorn that they’d help make and string. This is but one example of what their bond strove for, and succeeded in doing, which was creating — “memories."

In addition to his wife, Helen, of the home in Sheldon, he is survived by four sons; Gene Leininger and his wife, Eileen, Sheldon, Mo., Greg Leininger and his wife, Diana, Nevada, Gary Leininger and his wife, Valerie, DeSoto, Kan., and Geoff Leininger and his wife, Jackie, Lamar, Mo.; grandchildren, Ashley McKinney and her husband, Joel, Harwood, Mo., Erin Garwood and her husband, Andrew, Jasper, Mo., Lauryn Leininger, Wichita Falls, Texas, Glynn Leininger, Shawnee, Kan., Jillian Podurgiel and her husband, Chris, Ozark, Mo., Griffen Leininger, Columbia, Mo., Deanna Bickel and her husband, Barry, Columbia, Mo., Lori Emery and her husband, Marc, Sun Prairie, Wisc., Brandon Leininger and his wife, Angela, Platte City, Mo., and Jordan Leininger and his wife, Samantha, Nevada, Mo.; great-grandchildren, Jaden McKinney, Anderson McKinney, Saylor Garwood, Mally Garwood, Braden Bickel, Blair Bickel, Logan Emery, Camden Emery, Boyd Leininger, Brynn Leininger, Breanna Leininger, Makaylee Leininger, Xander Leininger, and Taygan Leininger; one brother, Wayne Leininger, Jerome, Idaho; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Sheldon Christian Church at 1st and Commercial with Pastor Ralph Shead officiating. Interment will follow in Sheldon Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m., prior to the service at the church at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Sheldon Christian Church.

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