On January 6, 1927 Allen Addison Leake began life in Pendleton, Oregon, although his home would be on a wheat ranch 4 miles out of the small town of Helix, Oregon.
All of his early life and school years was at Helix. Allen graduated ‘by proxy’ from Griswald High School in 1945 in a graduation class of seven students and at this time, WWII was on. When he had enough credits for graduation, his father signed for him to join the United States Navy. That is why he did not attend his graduation, but was honored in their year book and included in the graduation.
In the Navy, Allen was in the American Theater Campaign Command and was a radar technician. The ships he was on were moving troops back and forth to Japan. (In Washington, DC where they started the Navy War Memorial, Allen was a charter member and received his “plank” which he has carried for many years.) When he returned home with his Honorable Discharge, Allen and his two brothers went to college at Oregon State in Corvallis from 1947 – 1950.
While in college, Allen met his future wife, Janice Boubel. Also, while in college, Allen kept signing up for every Homesteading land he heard about. On March 25, 1950, in Caldwell, Idaho, approximately 3000 people were jammed into the Caldwell Rodeo arena for the public drawing to a bureau of reclamation drawing for 47 homesteads on the Black Canyon Project for 4,489 acres and “GI Veterans” had priority. Allen’s name came out of the jar #28! One week before, Allen and Janice were married on March 19, 1950, so he always called this his wedding present from Uncle Sam—all “120 acres of sagebrush”.
Allen and Janice graduated from Oregon State on June 5th and three weeks later they loaded up their battered old truck with the necessities of life and set off for the dream home in Idaho.
They started out with a board floored tent, with boards half up the sides, a few unpainted shelves for a kitchen, a tiny butane gas stove, kerosene lamps, a refrigerator made by nailing burlap over a wooden frame and keeping it moist, a bed, a folding card table and chairs. That was all they had at the present time. A while later they had electricity and water. They lived there for two years.
While clearing land and farming, they also designed and built a small home, and later, a much larger home.
During this time they had five children, four daughters and one son. They are Karen (Waren) Kell in Oregon, Monica Easterbrook in Boise, Gary (Sandy) Leake on Whidbey Island, Washington, Shelley (Denny) Sissom in Alabama, and Brenda (Steve) Butt in Texas. From these children are six grandchildren and spouses, and four great-grandchildren.
In 1961 at 35, Allen was selected and won locally, “Farmer of the Year” in Caldwell, then went on to win State, “Outstanding Young Farmer of Idaho” from six districts. He had tripled his land to 360 acres in 10 years. Allen repaired and rebuilt used equipment, leased land leveling units, cleared sage brush, laid out a gravity irrigation and drainage system, and installed a sprinkling system. The first award was a plaque and the second award was a trophy of an ear of corn! He always chuckled over that corn trophy because he never grew any! He had cattle and crops, but “no corn”.
Allen worked for the state for some time doing snow surveys out in the wilderness territory out and above Idaho City. He was in the JayCee’s for many years and he worked with the Caldwell Night Rodeo for a long time. He would take his tractor in year after year and work up the rodeo grounds for Little Britches and the rodeo. He was a member of the Caldwell Elks and lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Emmett, Idaho. Allen loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter.
He married Delpha in 1993 and they spent a lot of time at their place in the mountains at Cascade. They rode bikes in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter. In the more recent years it was just going up to Cascade, sitting on the deck in the trees, watching clouds float by, reading, enjoying God’s great beauty, and each other.
This past year he has been here on his Homestead ranch that he brought into being from sagebrush and land that he loved.
Allen was preceded in death by his parents, and two younger brothers. Allen was the last of his family.
After a very busy and outdoor life, Allen has passed on to his New Homestead…