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 Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association, the Colorado Cattlemen's Association, and the National Cattlemen's Association.
Reece served two terms, from 1974 thru 1976, as president of the Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association. Leslie served as secretary for the same association for 17 years, from 1981 to 1998. Reece was honored as Stockman of the Year by the Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association in 1980. Just 12 years later, in 1992, Leslie was honored with the very same award. Reece and Leslie were both very vocal and active on behalf of "rancher's causes".
Reece served as president of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association in 1988-1989. He was involved with many and various committees while active at the state association level, including Membership, Mergers, Transportation, Forest Service Liaison and Public Lands committees. Reece was recognized in 1984 as Colorado Cattlemen's Association Federal Range Livestockman of the Year. Through the CCA they made many dear friends and traveled to many state and national events.
Reece and Leslie were members of the National Cattlemen's Association. Reece served on the Transportation, Public Lands, and Tax and Credit committees at the national level. Lobbying Congress or the state legislature was "just another ranching chore" as far as Reece and Leslie were concerned. Reece and his father-in-law, Millard Steerman, were recognized as the Federal Rangemen of the Year in 1984.
Leslie, as well as being Reece's partner in all aspects of the ranch, taught school in the Montezuma-Cortez School District for over 30 years. Her love for children and reading was a blessing to many children's lives. Leslie's students were touched by her caring and positive approach to education. Leslie was very active in the Southwestern Cowbelles. Leslie's fellow cowbelles recognized her as Cowbelle of the Year in 1986. She was as active and prominent member of the Colorado Cattlewomen's Association. Leslie was a long-time member of Chapter DD, PEO.
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, where they established the "Gleann Aluinn (Green Meadow) Ranch." There they would continue to operate their cow/calf operation. They interjected a yearling grass cattle enterprise into their ranching life as well.
Reece and Leslie enjoyed 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 & brother-in-law William Hutson.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association or the Montezuma County Democratic Party.
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.
Published in The Journal on May 8, 2020.