Ronald Leeper: 1959-2021
Ronald D. Leeper was born May 28, 1959 in Lincoln, Nebr., to Melvin and Helen Leeper. He completed two years of college at Yankton College and was married to Janis L. (Huber) Leeper.
Ron worked for Gurneys, The Human Services Center, as a cook for the Quarry Restaurant, and then the job that he retired from after 20 years, a talk show host and the News Director for KYNT, where he was known as David Leonard.
Ron loved being on the air live. I got to see him in action a few times through the years and he had an energy and vibe that I saw only then. There were a few awards through the years that he received as a radio personality — An Outstanding Coverage Award for Bucks Wrestling in 2008, A South Dakota AP Broadcasting Honorable Mention for a Documentary Series in 2008 and lastly A Certificate of Completion for Citizens Police Academy in 2013. Although Ron didn’t make a big deal out of such things, I knew he was gratified and pleased to be recognized professionally.
Ron had just retired six weeks ago and had plans to really expand his crypto currency investments as his “new” day job, go fishing in a new round boat he was excited about buying and bring home some bass and perch suppers.
Ron loved to cook and was so very good at it. He specialized in Cajun cooking and nothing brought him more pleasure than to make a big pot of etouffee or a stuffed crawfish bisque to bring to our family dinners or to have friends over for a meal. It was always a special occasion and treat for anyone who got to taste Ron’s cooking. He loved to read, also; his very favorite authors were Charles Bukowski, Robert E. Howard, HP Lovecraft and Jim Thompson. All those authors were intense; they wrote deep and sometimes dark but always fascinating stories and Ron was drawn to them. He had hundreds of books, some since childhood on his bookshelves.
Ron was also a rocker. Not only did he like to play guitar and owned three-plus, but Ron and I went to many, many concerts. Our highlights were ACDC/Black Sabbath/Blue Oyster Cult/Robin Trower/Stevie Ray Vaughn and ZZ Top. Ron had an old school Pioneer stereo; it was always blasting on any given weekend, probably too loud, but he’d say, “Jan, rock has to be loud.” Ron was also an intense private person. He was onery, stubborn and the most wonderful guy I could ever have married. Ron was also the only man that ever quoted Shakespeare to me. He loved “The Bard” and served on the Shakespeare Festival Board every summer.
Ron passed away at the age of 61 Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital.
Survivors include his wife, Janis of Yankton; his black lab Luke; his brother, Donald and Dawn of Bellevue, Nebr.; his sister, Pam and Bill Cross of Perry, Okla.; eight nephews, six nieces, one great niece and five great nephews.
He was preceded in death by his older brother, Thomas; and his parents, Melvin and Helen.
A funeral service was held Saturday, April 17 at Goglin Funeral Home in Yankton, S.D. All 14 of Ron’s nieces and nephews were honorary casket bearers.