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Leon Howard Gelinske


Leon “Rooster” Gelinske was a proud, loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He passed away peacefully at sunrise on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 due to complications from Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Leon was born to John Gelinske and Gladys (Kraig) Gelinske on May 5th, 1941, in Britton, SD. He grew up on a farm located near Lake Tewaukon, Cayuga, ND with five brothers and six sisters. He spent much of his youth working on the family farm and enjoying hunting, fishing and riding his strawberry, roan colored horse Specks. It was known Leon enjoyed tending to sick animals as well as family members and acquired the nickname “Doc” that stuck for many years. The family moved in 1956 to a farmstead south of DeLamere, ND where he would attend high school. As a DeLamere Dragon, he lettered in basketball, football, track, and played guitar in a local rockabilly band.

After high school graduation, he worked construction for a few years and at age 22 attended NDSSS, Wahpeton, ND for a sheet metal certification program and was later employed by Shorum Shops.

A few years later, he attended NDSSS and received an associate degree in Radio and TV repair, later opening a TV repair shop in Wyndmere, ND. Over the years Leon expanded his electronics career working for SOO Line Rail Road and Minkota Cable TV. In addition, both he and his father John enjoyed shortwave and ham radio as a hobby and tinkered on many electronics projects together in the years to follow.

In 1974, Leon purchased the family farm where he lived as a teenager. He grew corn and wheat and raised chickens and pigs. In 1987, he retrained as a machinist and was employed by RayMac Inc, Gwinner, ND. From 1991 thru 2022, Leon lived in Fargo, ND. During his retirement years Leon continued to work part time at “Whale of Wash” as a maintenance technician and made many Cashwise coffee friends during the regular company meetings there.

Always a farmer at heart and linked to the land, he spent countless hours raising large gardens at his North Fargo residence for the last 26 years. As a quiet man with a quirky sense of humor, Leon showed his love for friends and family through acts of service such as: sharing garden produce, lawn mowing, snow blowing, and cooking lots of meals with his famous baked beans.

On many occasions grandchildren were patiently babysat, provided rides to school, and special trips to “Subway, McDs and Taco Bell”. He always made sure to have candy treats or sticks of gum when he would visit. Every birthday and holiday were acknowledged with a fancy card and a $20 bill signed in his standard block lettering “LOVE GRANDPA”.

In his spare time, he enjoyed watching boxing, “Gunsmoke” reruns, playing guitar, listening to Johnny Cash, tinkering with various projects at his kitchen table, and planning out his garden for the next season.

Leon’s kindness, generosity, and friendship will be greatly missed by many and will forever be in our hearts.

Leon is survived by his six children, who were born of his 1964- 1992 marriage to Judy (Kimball) Gelinske: Michelle (Matthew) Gelinske Patnode, Fargo, ND; Londell Goetze, Fargo, ND; Steve (Wendy Reiner) Gelinske, Dallas, TX; Bryan (Tifanie) Gelinske, Fargo, ND; Andrea (Gavin) Shettler, Portland, OR; Joshua (Monica) Gelinske, Fargo, ND; and nine grandchildren, Aanders Johnson, Minneapolis, MN; Jordan (Kandace) Goetze, Minneapolis, MN; Jonah, Goetze, Fargo, ND; John, Jason, Julia, and James Gelinske, Fargo, ND; Beatrise and Augustus Shettler, Portland, OR.

Leon was preceded in death by: John and Gladys Gelinske, infant twin brothers, brother John Gelinske Jr., brother Max Gelinske, sister Carol Forster(Gelinske), infant granddaughter, Cassondra Goetze; a dear friend Ken Hoel, special friend and neighbor Mariann Irion, and his old farm dog, Pumpkin.

Funeral service will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 28th at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Stephens Memorial Garden. Final resting place will be at the St. Stephens Memorial Garden.

Condolences and memories may be shared at

Arrangements entrusted to Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home - Fargo, ND

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