Leon Eddy Lilletvedt, 69, passed away October 24th at his home in Helena, Montana surrounded by his family after courageously battling a terminal illness.
Leon was born January 5, 1948 in Great Falls, Montana, the first of Edgar and Maxine (Powell) Lilletvedt’s three children. He grew up in Great Falls and was a member of the first class to graduate from C.M. Russell High School where he spent most of his elective time as a student instructor in the wood and auto shops. Leon enlisted in the U.S Navy Reserves in March 1965, graduated High School in 1966 and the Navy permitted him a short deferment so he could assist a farmer with bringing in his crops. Leon proudly served on active duty during the US conflict in Vietnam and was honorably discharged in 1968. Upon separation from active duty, Leon continued to serve his country in the Naval and Army Reserves until his final discharge in February 1976.
Upon completing his active duty service overseas, Leon reunited with his high school sweetheart, Janis Bell. The couple wed in Great Falls on September 6, 1969. Leon was briefly enrolled at Montana State University, but his need for practical application was not satisfied by University curriculum requirements. At the suggestion of his father, Leon enrolled in the Automotive Technology program at Spokane Community College and went on to graduate second in his class in 1972.
Leon was successfully employed as an automobile mechanic and later as a Vehicle Inspector for the U.S. Government’s General Service Administration. He retired from full-time employment in 2001, but continued working part-time for a local Sporting Goods store where he was able to share his passion for the outdoors.
Leon had a great love for his family and friends and enjoyed all sorts of outdoor activities. He played for a very competitive “blood-and-guts” softball team where he met two of the best friends he ever had. He enjoyed coaching Small Fry Football and continued to do so for several years after his own boys had moved on from the program. He enjoyed watching and playing various sports and was comfortable sharing his opinions of the performance of the officials and referees.
Leon spent countless hours as a volunteer Bowhunter Education Instructor for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and with the Capital Trail Vehicle Association advocating for multiple use of public lands and performing trail maintenance. If he wasn’t working on something, he could usually be found camping, hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, ATVing, or shooting with his family and friends.
Leon was preceded in death by his father and mother, maternal grandparents James Powell and Effie (Oberlin) Strain, paternal grandparents Jacob and Carrie (Heggen) Lilletvedt, great pal Lenny Lytle and his beloved hunting dogs.
Leon is survived by his loving wife Janis and sons Eric (Teri) and Ryan (Rachelle) all residing in Helena, his sister Janice Lilletvedt, and his brother Brian (Terry) Lilletvedt. Leon has five grandchildren that he considered his pride and joy: Andrew, Lexus, Jarod, Jaden and Kadi. Leon is also survived by nephew Jake Lilletvedt, lifelong friends Dale Firman and Bill Hall, fellow “stooge” Tom Dart, extended family, countless close friends and two excellent hunting retrievers.
Graveside services with Military Honors are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Friday, November 3, 2017 at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Ft. Harrison. Immediately following the service, Leon’s family will host a gathering at 3191 Solaris Road in Helena.
In lieu of flowers or cards, memorials are suggested to the Northern Lights Athletic Scholarship Foundation (NLASF) at PO Box 807 Havre, MT 59501 (nlasf.com) or the Capital Trail Vehicle Association (CTVA) at PO Box 5295 Helena, MT 59604 (ctva-ohv.com).
Please visit below to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Leon.