Lelands leave a legacy of service

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 2, 2002

Relocating was traumatic for Wally and Ada Leland when they moved from Albert Lea to Cheyenne, Wyo.

Saturday, February 02, 2002

Relocating was traumatic for Wally and Ada Leland when they moved from Albert Lea to Cheyenne, Wyo., just over a week ago.

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&uot;People have been really fantastic,&uot; he said regarding the nearly 22 years they lived in Albert Lea. &uot;We’ve been very happy here.&uot;

Yet, the move is being made to Wyoming so the couple can live near two of their children.

The Lelands came to Albert Lea in 1980 from Bricelyn. She was an elementary teacher and administrator. He became the area’s Modern Woodmen of America insurance agent.

Ada (Vaagen) Leland grew up on a farm south of Rake, Iowa, and graduated from Rake High School. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from what’s now Minnesota State University- Mankato.

&uot;I set up the first special education class at Wells,&uot; Ada said.

Her 31-year career as an elementary teacher included educating children in Wells, Kiester, Ellendale, and 10 years in Albert Lea with community education. Those years also included four years as a principal at Kiester, five years as a principal at Ellendale, and supervising student teachers sent out by the Mankato college.

Wally grew up on a farm north of Bricelyn and enlisted in the U.S. Army during 1942. He served overseas in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany and was discharged in 1946.

During those World War II years he and Ada were planning on a big hometown church wedding. However, just before this date, his unit was confined to post and alerted for overseas duty. As a result, Ada traveled to Camp Pickett, Va., where they were married on Nov. 16, 1944.

He was a Standard Oil dealer in Bricelyn for 28 years. Wally became an insurance agent in 1975.

Of the years in Albert Lea, he said, &uot;We put on a lot of matching fund and community recognition events. We never really kept track of how much was given to the community, but I would estimate it’s about $125,000.&uot;

Recipients of matching funds from the Modern Woodmen of America organization he mentioned include Crossroads Community Hospice, House of Hope, Albert Lea Community Child Care Center, school groups and providers of playground equipment.

Wally cites Ron Sorenson, the Eagles Club, and Sharon Weckwerth for their cooperation and participation with various Modern Woodmen of America activities during his years in Albert Lea.

The Lelands have three children: Dr. Robert Leland and Dr. Jane Iverson, both of Cheyenne, and Richard Leland of Sellersville, Pa. There are also six grandchildren and one great-grandchild

&uot;We’ll be living in a townhouse in Cheyenne,&uot; Wally explained about their relocation to a new place of residence he says is about 800 miles to the west and south of Albert Lea.