Leland “Lee” Ray Thompson, 75, of Howard, passed away following a courageous battle with cancer surrounded by his family at home on September 20, 2020. Private family services will be 10:30 AM, Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Howard. Burial will follow at Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-8 PM, Tuesday, at the Willoughby Funeral Home. Masks will be required at the visitation.

Lee was born on January 24, 1945 in Madison, South Dakota to Kenneth and Matilda (Balster) Thompson.  He graduated from Winfred High School in 1963 and served in the United States Army from 1965-1967.  

On March 14, 1969, he married the love of his life, Jean Marie Leary in Howard, South Dakota.  They celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019. To this union three children were born, Heath (Stacie) Thompson, Howard, SD, Misty (Myron) Rudebusch , Howard, SD, and Annalee (Neal) Thomas, Plattsmouth, NE.  They have been blessed with 13 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.  

Lee was engaged in farming in Winfred, SD on a farm established in the late 1800’s by his great grandfather, W.H. Thompson.  He was a candidate for “Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year” in the 1970’s.   He retired from farming in the late 1980’s and spent seventeen years employed by Persona in Madison, SD.  

Lee’s relaxation time was spent with his wife, children, and grandchildren.  He loved following his children’s and grandchildren’s competition in school sports and activities.  He loved his family, all cowboy movies, and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.  

Lee is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Jean Marie Thompson; along with three children; son, Heath (Stacie) Thompson, daughter, Misty (Myron) Rudebusch, daughter, Annalee (Neal) Thomas, brother, Lowell (Ruth) Thompson, brother, Wendell (Marlys) Thompson, and many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and extended family.   He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Matilda, and step-son, James Hackl.  Lee was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to everyone.