Leon Williams

September 24, 1941 ~ September 3, 2021 (age 79)


Leon (Leo) Harrison Williams passed away September 3, 2021 at the Salem Hospital in Salem Oregon. 
Leo was born on September 24, 1941 in Gallup, New Mexico. Leo grew in Gallup with 3 sisters, 6 brothers.
Leo was sent to Salem to attend Chemawa Indian School in 1955. Leo traveled home for the summer and found that there were no jobs and came back to Oregon to work for Bonhan Keerns in Izee in 1959. Leo only 16 at the time traveled to attend rodeos to do bareback riding in the junior rodeos. After having a taste for the rodeo Leo would go back to Salem to finish school, he met his future wife Sarah who attended the same school and would stay there to finish as Leo adventured to find work. After finishing school he went back to Izee to work for Bonhan and decided he didn't want to do that anymore and quit. 
Leo traveled up north in 1963 and found Gale and Mable Merwin, the ranch would be known as the Merwin Ranch. Leo had his wife join him in 1970. Here they would raise four girls Lydia, Gale, Mable, and Jennifer. Leo attended the Paulina Rodeo every year with his family. At times he would be brave and the bareback riding event; even though he didn't win, it gave him great pride to say he did it. Leo enjoyed other events such as the wild cow milk which he won in 1987. 
In 1986  the Merwins sold the ranch to Guiterrez Cattle Company from Boston, Massachusetts. Leo stayed with Guiterrez Cattle Company. Sadly in 2005 Leo lost his wife Sarah to a rare lung disease. In 2008, Leo was named the Paulina Old Timer at the Paulina rodeo. 
Leo's love for the outdoors and working on the ranch continued until 2007, Leo decided to hang up his irrigation boots and retire. He moved to Salem where he continued to wear his cowboy boots and hat while enjoying time with his daughters, grandchildren, and other friends. He enjoyed family time, casinos, and the coast in Lincoln City. 
Leo was proceeded in death by his wife Sarah, his father Tom, mother(s) Alice & Anna, and his sister Julia. Leo was survived by his four daughters, several grandchildren, two great granddaughters, his 2 sisters, and 6 brothers. 

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