LaVerne Lewis Leininger, 89, of Sheldon, MO, passed peacefully on November 9th. He was surrounded by his close family and caregivers at Truman Health Care in Lamar. LaVerne was born on January 1st, 1930, in the family farm home just south of Sheldon. He was a third generation and lifelong resident of Sheldon, and was preceded in death by his parents Lloyd Leininger and Mabel (Shaver) Leininger. Also preceding him were his two sisters, Selma Sullivan and Arlene Nelson.
LaVerne is survived by his wife of over seventy years, Helen (Fowler) Leininger, their four sons, Gene, Greg, Gary, and Geoff, and his brother Wayne Leininger of Jerome, ID, ten grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Graduates of Sheldon High School, LaVerne and Helen married in Eureka Springs, AR, on August 17th, 1949. Much of their lives have been dedicated to every aspect of the Sheldon Christian Church where he was a lifelong member, church elder, and treasurer. One of his most rewarding duties was as the annual bible school craft coordinator. This allowed him to work with all the ‘fun stuff’ he loved – the cement mixing, the wood cutting – whatever was required for the kids to successfully complete their craft project.
LaVerne wore many hats along the way in his long life in Sheldon. One of his “longest worn hats” was his career at Sheldon State Bank. Beginning in 1959 as a teller, he worked his way to become the bank’s Vice-President. Over the years, he served the City of Sheldon as Mayor, City Council member, Sheldon Picnic Association, Sheldon Alumni Association, School Board member, and president of the Cemetery Association.
The favorite hat of his life, proudly displays a St. Louis Cardinals logo. Like his father, he was an avid Cardinals fan and listened to many games on radio, then watched on TV and was able to attend quite a few games in-person.
His major pastime was spent as a self-taught carpenter and wood-worker. He enjoyed building and restoring furniture. He always impressed with his skill, creativity, and results – on far too many projects to list here.
For many years, he enjoyed league bowling at Lamar and Nevada with his buddies from Sheldon.
While he may have come up just short on the lanes, he never rolled anything but a perfect game when it came to family. His retirement in the mid-90’s allowed him even more quality family time – especially for his growing list of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
LaVerne and Helen began something one fall that became an annual tradition that they and the successive groups of grandkids all loved. They would go to the woods to cut down that years’ Christmas tree. Weather permitting; they would have a fire and a weenie roast. Then they’d take the tree home and decorate with gingerbread and popcorn that they’d help make and string. This is but one example of what their bond strove for, and succeeded in doing, which was creating - “memories”.
In addition to his wife Helen, of the home in Sheldon, he is survived by four sons; Gene Leininger and his wife Eileen, Sheldon, MO, Greg Leininger and his wife Diana, Nevada, Gary Leininger and his wife Valerie, DeSoto, KS, Geoff Leininger and his wife Jackie, Lamar, MO; grandchildren, Ashley McKinney and her husband Joel, Harwood, MO, Erin Garwood and her husband Andrew, Jasper, MO, Lauryn Leininger, Wichita Falls, TX, Glynn Leininger, Shawnee, KS, Jillian Podurgiel and her husband Chris, Ozark, MO, Griffen Leininger, Columbia, MO, Deanna Bickel and her husband Barry, Columbia, MO, Lori Emery and her husband Marc, Sun Prairie, WI, Brandon Leininger and his wife Angela, Platte city, MO, Jordan Leininger and his wife Samantha, Nevada, MO; great-grandchildren, Jaden McKinney, Anderson McKinney, Saylor Garwood, Mally Garwood, Braden Bickel, Blair Bickel, Logan Emery, Camden Emery, Boyd Leininger, Brynn Leininger, Breanna Leininger, Makaylee Leininger, Xander Leininger, Taygan Leininger; one brother, Wayne Leininger, Jerome, ID; numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov 16th at the Sheldon Christian Church at 1st and Commercial with Pastor Ralph Shead officiating. Interment will follow in Sheldon Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 10-11:00 a.m. on Saturday prior to the service at the church. Friends may call now and until 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Sheldon Christian Church.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of LaVerne L. Leininger, please visit our floral store.
Sheldon Christian Church
200 S. 1st, Sheldon MO 64784