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Leonard Alfred Roark

October 16, 1927 November 16, 2020
Leonard Alfred Roark
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Obituary for Leonard Alfred Roark

Leonard Alfred Roark, 93, was born October 16, 1927, to Lawrence Roark and Mary (Lewis) Roark in Big Sandy, MT. He passed away peacefully on November 16, 2020, at Highgate Senior Living in Great Falls, where he had resided since July of this year.

Leonard always said he learned things by just doing them, but mechanical repairs seemed to come easily to him. He had a love of all things motorized that started with the purchase of his first car at the age of 10, and continued to include motorcycles, boats, and even an airplane over the years. Another activity that he enjoyed as a young man was boxing.

Being one of seven children to grow up during the great depression, he learned to work for what he wanted, but he never let that get in the way of having some fun and adventure. He loved to tell about the pet badgers that he and two of his siblings raised and took on walks in town to enjoy the reactions it created.

Being color blind kept him from serving in the military during World War II, but he did work assembling radar systems while staying with a half-brother in Cincinnati. While working for the Choteau county road department, operating a D7 Caterpillar, he was having dinner at the local hotel when the love of his life caught his eye. He was introduced to Betty Terry by her brother, Glen. Leonard made her his wife on June 29, 1946. They lived in Big Sandy until April of 1953 when they moved to Sunburst with their first 3 children in tow, and the 4th on the way. Leonard worked for Hardrock Oil for 16 years and the family lived in company housing which in later years they purchased and finished raising their family there. When things slowed down in the oilfield, Leonard accepted the manager position at the Cenex Cooperative which kept him busy for the next seven years. After leaving that position, he worked for the gas company and later did mechanical work in his own shop and operated his backhoe until he accepted a position managing the school bus garage. Since he was an early riser and loved kids, this was a perfect fit for him! In 1990, he retired from the school district, but he wasn’t completely done working. He worked for several years maintaining the Sunburst cemetery between winters spent traveling south with Betty. During their years in Sunburst, Leonard was an active member of the small community participating in many activities including Little League, Boy Scouts, and driving ambulance. He was very social, and he always enjoyed attending the church benefits for a good meal and a visit. When they felt traveling was going to be too difficult for them, he and Betty sold their home of 59 years and moved to Meridian, ID, to be close to their daughter, Terry, and enjoy the milder climate. In December of 2014, Betty preceded him in death.

Leonard’s very strong work ethic, inability to pass by someone in need of help, and his obvious love of family, were a wonderful example set for his six children, Fay (Ken) Tomayer of Galata, Terry (Paul) Walston of Meridian, ID, Jack (Susan) Roark of Kalispell, Frank (Betsy) Roark of Boca Raton, FL, DeeAnn (Wayne) Middlestead of Helena, and Chuck (Shanee) Roark of Great Falls; 13 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; 5 great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and one favored 1st cousin, Ruth Hafner of Oro Valley, AZ.
Leonard and Betty always considered immediate and extended family to be a priority, and we take joy in the legacy that is left in their wake.

Cremation has taken place, and a service will be planned when we are able to have a gathering.

There are so many interesting and entertaining stories about his life that the family is looking forward to hearing and sharing when that time comes.

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