Obituary: Leslie (Les) Mergelman

Leslie (Les) Mergelman
Leslie (Les) Mergelman
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February 8, 1946 – May 12, 2023

Leslie (Les) Owen Mergelman passed away at his home in Elm Creek, Nebraska; he was formerly of Cedaredge, Colorado. Les was born to Warren and Margaret Mergelman in Gunnison, CO. Following college at Colorado State University, Les married the love of his life, Dorothy Jean, on March 25, 1972. From this marriage came two children, Crandal and Kari.

Les and Dorothy started their life together in Canon City and Buena Vista, CO, where he held positions in CSU Extension and the local sale barn. A college friend recruited Les into baking in 1974, and Les’ banking career took he and Dorothy to several homes before landing them in Cedaredge, CO, where they remained for 37 years before relocating to Nebraska.

Les worked for many years in the independent banking industry, having served on several local, state and national committees and as a Past President of the Independent Bankers of Colorado. Upon Les’ retirement, Les devoted his energy to Club 20, helping further political agendas for the 20 western counties of Colorado. He was an active member 45 years, having served as President of this organization for two of those.

Les grew up on a family ranch in the Gunnison River Valley and remained active in agriculture to his final day. Some of Les’ fondest memories were from his high-school years working on a ranch in Powderhorn, CO, where he put up hay and rode lots of miles on horseback. He continually worked to advocate for agriculture by serving on boards such as the Delta County Planning Commission, Farmhouse Fraternity and the Colorado Agricultural Leaders Forum.

The one passion from which Les never tired was local youth development. He was an active 4-H and FFA member in his own youth, having traveled to Iran as a an IFYE delegate in 1968. Les volunteered for several years on the Delta County Fair Board and was a past Chairman of the Colorado State Fair Commission. In his summer months, Les could be found behind the microphone announcing youth livestock shows and Little Britches Rodeos. He was a lifetime member of the National FFA Alumni Association and donated generously of his time to local FFA chapters in the area.

Many knew Les as the master of the grill or chuckwagon cooking. He sought opportunities to share his love of cooking with others, many recalling every Labor Day Sunday at the Mergelman house…a place where the lamb skewers turned, the bean pot was hot and Les was stoking the fire. If anyone left hungry, it was his own fault!

Memorial services were held on Monday, May 22 in Cedaredge. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Cedaredge, Rangely or Elm Creek FFA programs.