Ada Marjorie Leland passed away November 2, 2020 in Cheyenne, WY surrounded by her loving family and devoted care givers. She was born August 5, 1923 in Rake, Iowa to Peder and Anna Vaagen. She grew up on their Rake, Iowa farm with three sisters and four brothers. Upon graduating as Salutatorian from Rake High School, she borrowed money from her older brothers to attend a Rapid School Management semester at Cedar Falls, Iowa. She then began teaching in a one room, rural school in Rake. She was 18 years old at the time, and taught grades 1-8. This was the beginning of a career in education which lasted until she was 76 years old.
In November of 1942, she traveled by train to Camp Pickett, VA to marry her fiancé, Wallace Leland who was enlisted in the US Army. She returned to Rake to continue teaching and Wally was deployed overseas. When Wally was discharged in 1944, they moved to Bricelyn, Minnesota where they started their family. Together they had three children. Ada was passionate about education and wanted her children to have good educations. This led her to earn B.S. Ed., M.S. Ed, and a 6th year Certificate in School Administration by commuting to Mankato State University to take summer and night classes. She did this while raising three children. She resumed her teaching career after graduation. She taught Special Education, Elementary Education, and in 1976 she accepted a multi-faceted job in the Kiester district as Principal, Reading Director, Title 1 Coordinator, and Community Education Director. From there she became Principal of Ellendale Elementary School. At age 61, Ada demonstrated her professional flexibility by teaching adult learners in the Albert Lea Adult Basic Education program. Her final professional position was as Supervisor of Student Teachers for Mankato State University.
Ada was an extraordinary woman who was way ahead of her time. She educated and shaped, not only her own children, but countless more young people and was highly respected for it. Ada was a leader. She was active in the Bricelyn Lutheran Church, the Bricelyn School, and her community. She loved to play bridge and was an avid reader.
Ada is survived by her youngest sister, Anna Mae Nodland (Gene), and her children, Robert Leland (Peggy), Jane Iverson, Richard Leland (Nancy), grandchildren Peter Leland (Jill),
Kristen Fickenscher (Derek), Sara Leland (Achim Amma), Nathan Potter (Rachel), Michael and Andrew Leland, great grandchildren Andrew and Jonah Leland, Ashley, Emma, Levy Potter, Jacob and Emily Fickenscher, and Kai and Eliza Amma. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Oscar, Otis, Paul, Martin, Gertrude and Edna, and her Son-in-Law, Donald Iverson.
In the words of the author of “The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride” by Joe Siple, Ada and Wally were both SBK – strong, brave and always kind. Ada and Wally left this world a better place. Their legacies live on in the hearts and minds of those who loved them. Their contributions to their family and society will long be remembered.
Graveside services of burial for Ada and Wally Leland will be held on September 4, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Bricelyn Cemetery with Pastor Nancy Helgeland Solomonson officiating. Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life to honor Wally and Ada on September 4, 2021 at 11:00 AM at the Bricelyn Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall. Because of health concerns, the family asks that those who attend the reception be vaccinated for Covid. A light lunch will be served. Memorial gifts for Ada may be made to the Bricelyn Lutheran Church, or a charity of choice.