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Reece Val Malles, 81, of Gordon, NE passed away Friday, May 1, 2020 at Centennial Park Care Facility in North Platte, NE.
Leslie Ann Malles, 76, of Gordon, NE followed Reece over the great divide to their eternal resting place Saturday, May 2, 2020 at Centennial Park also.
Reece was born July 12, 1939 to John Reece Malles Jr & Nora Mary Chiole Malles in Durango, CO.
Leslie was born April 27, 1943 to Millard & Genevieve O’Laughlin Steerman in Cortez, CO.
Their life was a true ranching love story. They began their love story with their marriage on January 26, 1963 in Cortez, Colorado. They became part owners of the Trail Canyon Ranch in McElmo Canyon south of Cortez with Leslie’s parents in 1966. They were both very involved with the Southwest Livestock Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Association.
Reece was very active at the state association level, serving as the CCA President in 1988-1989. Through this association they made many dear friends and traveled to many state and national events. Reece was recognized as the “Livestock Man of the Year” in the Southwest Livestock Association in 1973. Along with his father-in-law Millard Steerman he was recognized in 1984 as the Federal Range Livestockman of the Year in the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. He also served on numerous boards with the Colorado State Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Leslie, as well as being Reece’s partner in all aspects of the ranch, taught school in Montezuma-Cortez School District for over 30 years. Her love for children and reading was a blessing to many children’s lives touched by her caring and positive approach to education. Leslie was very active in the Cowbelle’s and Colorado Cattlewomen’s Assn. and was a proud member of the PEO sorority.
Reece and Leslie were both very active with the Democratic Party in local and state politics.
In 1997 their love for each other and the ranching life would lead them to follow Reece’s dream and take their ranching future to the Sandhills of Nebraska, near Gordon, NE where they established the “Gleann Aluinn (Green Meadow) Ranch.” There they would continue to operate their cow/calf operation and interject a yearling grass cattle enterprise into their lives and enjoy their relaxing years learning about the birds of the sand hills including the Sandhill Cranes and the Curlew that frequented the meadow in front of their ranch home. They were always entertained by frequenting auctions and picking up treasures and trinkets they found along the way
They leave behind Leslie’s cousins and many dear friends with whom they enjoyed frequent phone chats, dinners at the Peppermill in Valentine or pie and ice cream at one of many places they had found throughout the area. They were preceded in death by their parents; and Reece’s sister, Frankie and her husband John.
Memorial contributions may be made in Reese and Leslie’s names to the Southwest Livestock Association, SWCCA, PO Box 393, Cortez, CO 81321; or the Montezuma County Democratic Party, PO Box 1035, Cortez, CO 81321.
A celebration of their lives will be held at a later date this summer. A private interment will be held at Cortez Cemetery in Cortez, CO. Final arrangements are being made by Ertel Funeral Home in Cortez.
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