July 16, 1915 ~ June 11, 2009
Ivan Leslie, the fifth of six children, was born July 16, 1915 in Caldwell to Jasper and Elsie Mae Wilkinson Struble. He attended a country school before joining the Caldwell High School Class of 1934. Ivan did not graduate with his class, dropping out during his senior year.
Ivan was inducted into the U.S. Army November 13, 1942 and served as a mechanic and sharpshooter during World War II until he was discharged as a Master Sergeant on October 29, 1945. Ivan was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service between September 1, 1944 and May 8, 1945, serving in northern France, the Rhineland and in central Europe.
Ivan’s barber and Vera’s beautician, husband and wife sharing a shop, decided to play matchmaker in 1939.
Vera, a freshman when Ivan was a senior, had noticed Ivan while in school and thought she would not be at all interested. Both were getting hair cuts one day when the beautician told Vera she thought the young man in the other chair would like to get to know her. The barber was telling Ivan something very similar. This was the
beginning of a four year courtship culminating in the marriage of Ivan and Vera Ames in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on July 17, 1943. They celebrated their 65th anniversary last summer.
Upon discharge from the army, Ivan came home to a squalling daughter and threatened to re-enlist! While I am certain he enjoyed telling Sharon that story, he truly loved and delighted in his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His children told me they were always aware of the size of his hands which while used for necessary spankings were also very gentle. Sharon was a senior in high school when she received her last spanking. She and Steve had climbed the big windmill and were jumping off, despite having been warned once by Ivan that the windmill was off-limits. They had seen Dad drive off and thought they were safe, but quickly learned it wasn’t only mothers who had eyes in the back of their heads. If you look at the picture board assembled by the family, you will see Ivan happily surrounded by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, often holding one or more of them. Their Grampa-Great or Big Papa loved them and they loved him.
Ivan was primarily a farmer, but he was also an excellent carpenter. He worked two years for Beech Aircraft in Wichita and helped build many homes in Caldwell while he worked for Hula Bros. Construction. He made hall trees, quilt racks, benches from cut-down pews, and many other things. He also helped out the mortuary when Mark Blankenship was the funeral director. At whatever job he was doing, he used the opportunity to teach his children his work ethic. I heard tales of Sue and Shelley helping on the farm and Shelley driving with him to pick up a body.
In 1980 Ivan and Vera left the farm and moved to town. It’s easier to move the man from the farm to town than to remove the farm from the man. Ivan still kept a very active interest in the farm as evidenced by Steve’s response of “Boss” to my question “what did you call your Dad?” and by the picture on the folder showing Ivan in the tractor on his 90th birthday.
Since transferring his membership from the church in Renfrow, Ivan has been a member of the Caldwell United Methodist Church for 44 years. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Medford before transferring to Sumner Lodge #203 in Caldwell where he was also a member of the Lions Club.
In the past few years Ivan’s health has prevented him from doing much of what he enjoyed. He has continued to read and enjoy family visits. Frequently, he had to spend time in the hospital. Ivan died suddenly late Thursday afternoon, June 11, 2009 at the Caldwell Hospital at the age of 93.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jasper and Elsie Mae Struble; two brothers, Floyd and Chet; three sisters, Grace, Mabel, and Lucille; and a son-in-law, Jim Watson.
Ivan is survived by his wife, Vera, of Caldwell; four children, Sharon Watson of Caldwell, Steve Struble and his wife, Brenda, of Medford, Sue White and her husband, Rod, of Caldwell, and Shelley Kern of Wellington. His legacy also includes nine grandchildren, their spouses, and 15 great-grandchildren: Jeff and Tina Watson; Leha Watson-Swentzel, Brock, Jayce, Austen, and Jamesy; Brenna Struble and Braxton; Cory and Ami White, Hanna,
Trey, and Hallee; Casie and Cliff Risley, Jalen, Jackson, and Ella; Cody and Kristin White and Karsyn; Laura and Nate Lund, McKenzie, Mallorie, and Jared; Derek Kern; and Bailey Kern.
Friends may call at the Mortuary from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, June 13, and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 14, 2009. Memorial services for Ivan Struble will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 15, 2009 at the First United Methodist Church, Caldwell, Kansas. Memorials may be given to the First United Methodist Church or to the Sumner County District #1 Hospital, Caldwell.
Family and Friends - 06/12/2009
Ivan was a long time friend of ours. I offer our condolences to his wife and family. We will all miss him.
A. K. Armstrong
Family and Friends - 06/13/2009
Our sympathy and condolences to your family.
Tina Ames McDermott
Family and Friends - 06/13/2009
I am so sorry to hear of Ivan's death. He leaves many fond memories of my visits to the farm as a "city girl".
Diana and Tim
Family and Friends - 06/13/2009
Dear Vera and Family:
Was sorry to read in the Wichita paper today about Ivan. We have great memories of him. Tim and Ivan always had this thing about each giving up the chair for each other at the
lumber yard. It was a standing joke between them. We are in Bermuda and wish we could be there to give you a big hug. We are praying for you and the family. God bless you all.
Chris Ames and Family
Family and Friends - 06/15/2009
We are sorry to hear of your loss and continue to remember you in our prayers.
Oma Lea Rogers
Family and Friends - 06/17/2009
Vera and Family, I read of Ivan's passing in the Enid paper and was saddened and shocked. For some reason it seemed, a giant of a man like Ivan should live forever.
The days at Renfrow school bring back memories of the wonderful Struble family. It was indeed a treat for me to know, visit, and play with a big family, since I was an only child. I have a really good feeling about those times. Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Love, Oma Lea
Family and Friends - 06/22/2009
For My High School Classmate Steve and All The Family, So very sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. What a wonderful man. And yes, he did have big hands. I'm thinking of you