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Estevan Orlando Leal

August 13, 1930 - May 7, 2012

Steve, as he was called, was born in Blanca, Colorado, a tiny town in southwestern Colorado. He was a hard worker since age thirteen when his father died, leaving school after the ninth grade to continue to support his family, working at farming, ice' houses, and anything else he could find, said Hope, his wife of nearly 62 years. Steve and Hope were next door neighbors all their childhood years, walking to school together. When he was twenty and she sixteen, he began to come over and help her wash dishes. One night he came to her house with his mother to ask Hope's father for her hand. She accepted and a month later, on June 3, 1950, they were married in Alamosa at a Presbyterian church.

Two weeks after that, one of Hope's brothers told them there was work up in Denver and they moved to Sheridan, living in one of the strings of cabins near Petersburg while Steve worked at Hecothorn, a munitions company in Littleton, making bullets for the Army. He worked there for a year when he was drafted to do his part in the Korean War, sending Hope back to her parents, who had moved to Albuquerque. During the war he worked as an Army engineer, repairing Jeeps. In 1953 he was discharged after his service was complete. He came back and went back to work for Hecothorn until they closed. During those years after the war, they bought a tiny three room house in Sheridan on Irving, near Girard, and added on another room, but soon realized the house was too small for the growing family. They sold that house and bought their current house in 1960, where Hope still lives with son Mike and his family.

In addition to their four children Bobbie, Steve, Mike, and Mark; Hope and Steve were always generous with their time and home, helping to raise many family members over the years, including her brother's son, Lloyd, who could often be found- at the house, and Hope's niece, Lori, who lived with the family until she turned twelve or thirteen, when she moved to Albuquerque to live with Hope's parents.

In their later years, Steve and Hope raised their great granddaughter, Cierra Leal, adopting her when she was twelve. When she joined the Sheridan Middle School band as a drummer, they became members of the Sheridan Band Boosters, attending every game, concert, and parade to support her and her fellow band mates throughout Middle and High School, traveling all over the state to cheer them on.

A long time Broncos fan, Steve loved to watch the games, even attending some when he got the chance. Billy Thompson, former Bronco Number 13, paid a visit to Steve when he was in the nursing home in May of this year.

After Hecothorn closed, he got a job at Electron, a foundry, where he worked until he retired the first time in 1993. He was a ladle man at the foundry, chipping the leavings off the ladle after the molten metal had been poured. Electron closed, bankrupt about three years after he retired. Unfortunately they would find out years later. That job had damaged his lungs severely, ultimately leading to his death. His sickness was diagnosed
during a bout of pneumonia and he made the rounds of several doctors and hospitals, including National Jewish, hoping for a successful therapy. Never one to sit still for too long, Steve quickly found retirement was boring and went to work at the local McDonald's at Federal and Jefferson for around ten years, working the window and cleaning. After that he worked for Cici's Pizza for a couple of years, delivering lunch pizzas to Sheridan and Englewood schools.

For five years he, along with Hope, volunteered for the Senior Citizens at School program. He cleaned, washed windows, and performed other chores they might need, while Hope worked in classrooms, volunteering in school libraries, where she continues to help out today. Volunteering hours for the program helped them cut their real estate taxes and Sheridan School District granted Steve his diploma a few years ago.

Steve was a fixture in Sheridan for his entire adult life, living and working in his community, and giving generously of his time by lending support to Sheridan's schools, its programs, and the students who took part in them. He will be missed by his family and the community.


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