Henry Albert Bledsoe
Henry A. Bledsoe passed away April 3, at the Wray Community District Hospital. He was 84.
Henry was born Nov. 7, 1920, in Plainview, TX, the only son of Daisy Smith and Henry Bledsoe.
The family owned ranches at Mule Shoe, TX, but because the nearest hospital was in Plainview that became his birth place. When irrigation began appearing in that part of the Texas Panhandle, the family traded the land in Texas for a ranch in El Paso County, CO, because the family was involved primarily in ranching.
Henry graduated valedictorian of his senior class at Ellicott High School and scored a perfect 100 percent on his entrance exams to Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) in Ft. Collins, CO. He entered college at age 14 and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho. He graduated in 1941 with honors and a degree in Economics and served as a second lieutenant in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
In 1943, he married Lucile Mary Driscoll, and they took up residence on the Timberlake Ranch near Cheraw, CO. Hank and Lucile were blessed with the birth of two children, Sandra Ann in 1946 and Robert Edward in 1947.
In 1948, Henry and Lucile purchased the former Sullivan Ranch, north of Wray, and proceeded to add land in Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Together with his family, he incorporated a feedlot, central pivot irrigation, and wheat production into the operation. His management skills advanced corn, wheat, and cattle yields.
Henry was president of the Colorado Livestock Association (PCA), the Colorado Cattle Feeders Association, Yuma County Cattlemen’s Association, and Y-W Electric Association. He served as a board member of Tri-state G&T, Trapper Mine Company and the Salt River Power Association. He was also a member of the international Flying Farmers Association.
He was elected to the Ninth District Farm Credit Association board of directors, headquarted in Wichita, KS, and served many years as board president. During this time, he also served on the Farm Credit Council in Washington, DC. He was the only person to be elected to two full terms as president. He also served as an advisor to the Federal Farm Credit Board.
Henry received the Jerry Litton Award as the foremost, progressive achiever in the agriculture field. The award also recognized his efforts to steer young graduates into the fields of agriculture and agricultural business.
Henry received many awards and honors within the livestock arena and banking business. He acquired his private pilot’s license, but after his wife and life-long partner, Lucile, advanced her degrees in aviation, he related that he’d rather that she fly, while he’d ride along and think about business.
All with whom Henry had business dealings—without fail—admired his honesty and integrity and have expressed that fact of his life. With Henry, a handshake sealed the deal.
In all his activities, he didn’t neglect the home front. Henry was an active member of the Wray United Methodist Church, a 62-year member of BPOE, a former Rotarian, and one of the original 49ers. It has been said that he was the East Yuma County Sandhills Pitch Champion.
Henry was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Daisy Bledsoe, and one sister Mary Lily Bledsoe Lauerman.
He is survived by his wife, Lucile, whom he called his partner and best friend; daughter Sandy Bowman and husband Jim; and son Bob Bledsoe and wife Becky. His grandchildren are Annabet Soehner and husband Curt; Grant Bledsoe and wife Katie, all of Wray; J.J. Bowman and wife Angie of Lakewood, and Doc Bowman of Madison, WI. Greatest of the great he’d say are Lauren Keithly Soehner, Madalyn Driscoll Soehner, Jaydan Marie Brotton, and Jackson Clark Bledsoe, his great-grandchildren.
Receiving of Friends was on Sunday, April 10, at the Spellman-Schmidt Funeral Home in Wray. Funeral services were on Monday, April 11, at the Wray United Methodist Church in Wray with Rev. Norman Stott officiating. Memorials may be made to the Wray United Methodist Church in Wray, or the Henry A. Bledsoe CSU Memorial Fund, c/o First Pioneer National Bank in Wray.
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