Leo R. Priebe

leo priebe
Leo R. Priebe, age 97, passed away on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at MercyOne Medical Center in New Hampton, IA. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 25, 2020 at St. Paul's Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in rural Elma with Pastor Dan Christensen officiating. Burial will be held at St. Paul's Maple Leaf Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by the Elma American Legion Post #597. Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 PM on Friday, July 24, 2020 at St. Paul's Maple Leaf Church located at 13431 Howard Ave, Elma, IA. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the funeral service on Saturday. We ask those in attendance to please follow the CDC social distancing guidelines. Masks are readily available for use by the general public, as well as hand sanitizer and individually wrapped pens. Online condolences may be left at www.conway-markhamfh.com. Memorials may be directed to St. Paul's Maple Leaf Church. Born on the banks of the Wapsipinicon River, on the land his Grandfather homesteaded, Leo Rudolph Priebe was an Iowa son all 97 years, 8 months, and 11 days of his life. First, on his parents’ farm and then his own, he knew how to work hard. He also knew how to play hard. Both were important to him. He was a man of passion and strong feelings. He was passionate about hunting, the Minnesota Twins, the versatility and comfort of bib overalls, gardening, cheese, traveling, peach pie, fishing, a good joke, the 5:30 news, cold beer, the benefits of eating local honey, deviled eggs, a good dog [that may or may not be named Snapper, Skipper, or Spunky] his recliner, a good meal, the USA, organic farming, barbequed ribs with a sticky sauce, a perky polka, recycling [his casket is made of previously used old barn boards, going to church, playing Euchre and 500, Baileys Irish Cream, driving on the back roads, the Democratic party, being from Ioway, a good team of horses, green olives, homemade wine, watching things grow, his grandchildren, and one good woman. He met that good woman working on a threshing crew in North Dakota in 1940 when . He was 18 and she was 14. Her name was Faith Carrie Kuderling and they would have been married 75 years on February 21. Faith often noted that they never had a date. Their love affair was a few meetings, a bicycle ride, a myriad of old- fashioned hand-written letters, a commitment to doing the right thing, hard work, trust in God, and an undying belief that things would just turn out. One of his terms of endearment to that good woman consisted of “Mother, it’s time to go.” He adored babies and children. He particularly loved the grands and great grands and the great great grands, and enjoyed all their victories, accomplishments, triumphs and bad jokes. It’s been said that Leo was a man who knew how to properly admire a baby, ogling them at great length and then demanding loudly, [as if the baby could walk to him] “Come here you little hockapooches”. He certainly had plenty of practice loving babies. His final count: 9 children, 26 grandchildren, 49 great grandchildren, and 9 great great grandchildren. Leo always had happy legs and there was no place that didn’t appeal to him. Dragging a reluctant Faith along, well into his 80s he traveled to China, Israel, Peru, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Switzerland, and who knows where else? But, when the trip was over, he was always happy to get back home to his beloved Iowa and his much-loved farm. Equally, he loved his country. He proudly served in the Army in WWII, landing on Utah Beach on D-Day plus 4 with many other young men who helped change history. He was decorated for service and bravery, receiving two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts among many other commendations. He had many stories to tell about his time in the service but kept silent for 50 years. Later on, he eased the past by spending many hours talking and writing about the realities of war. [Google Leo Priebe and you’ll find interviews and many his written pieces about his war experiences.] Leo had very strong opinions on, well, just about everything and he was happy to share those opinions with you. They were backed by reading two daily newspapers, nighttime TV news, research, and thoughtful dialogues. But, if none of those things contributed to your opinion, and you just didn’t happen to agree with his point of view, you could expect a very loud, very forceful, “Bingfodden” thrown your way. {no need to Google; you get the drift here]. He loved his country church and it was a huge part of their rural life. He loved his farming neighbors. He loved being settled in his community with many others who came back from the war and he loved raising his kids here. He often said “at Maple Leaf, we celebrate good times and bad times, but we share them both.” He was a farmer and loved everything about the land. He picked a farm with a “crick” so his kids could play and fish in it. Organic farming was one of the things of which he was most passionate and he proudly was the first to certify in the county. He lived there on the same tract of land for 73 years. An obsession in recent years was environmental changes from pollution, erosion, contaminations, and lack of care. He would demand that all of us be good stewards of the land. He’s now playing cards with his parents, Celia and Rudolph Priebe, his much-loved sister, Florence, his brothers Rollie, Clifford, and Bob, and his never forgotten son, Neil. His loving wife Faith longs to be whole, happy, and reunited with him again. Tipping a cold one without him tonight are his children: Linda, Connie, Don, Mike, Jo, Gail, Kris, and Scott. As a Christian, he knew with certainty that God loved him, and that heaven is the next chapter. He wouldn’t have wanted anyone to be sad. He knew that he had had a helluva good run and the best was yet to come.

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Memories Timeline


  1. “Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognisable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of ‘religious people’ which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less.” -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  2. Hoping that little moments of grace and goodness,will bring some lightness to your heart with each new day.

  3. Kris & Dick, We are so sorry for the loss of your dad. He was indeed a very special guy. Thinking of you & praying for you. Love, Mary & Mike Murl

  4. I new this man all my life as his oldest daughter was my best friend. I’ll never forget we had flooding at our home place .so my Dad couldnt get to the cows .Leo came over and swim across the flooding water and got the cows to come.Thats when I saw all his wounds l was very young and didnt understand all it then .So too his family at this time of great loss how lucky a family to had him as a dad. Love to you all .and a big hug Linda

  5. Played alot of euchre with Leo in Murphys and he was always at Riceville football games,great guy.RIP Leo

  6. Thoughts and prayers to the Priebe family. I met Leo many years ago when I was doing Tierney family tree research and he was very willing to talk about where Dennis and Julia Tierney family settled just south of Elma. We had a lot of wonderful conversations ever since over the years. Always a treat to run into Leo and Faith.

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