Leo Hugh Drain passed away on January 30, 2015 at the age of 90 in Columbus, Mont., after a brief illness. Leo was born in Columbus on March 21, 1924, to Hugh and Myrtle Drain.
He had one brother (Lloyd) and sister (Rita). He was a life-long resident of Columbus and loved the people and the land in the surrounding area. He hunted and fished with his Dad and friends while growing up, but hard work was normal routine, and we all can remember his stories about thrashing grain out North, or digging a ditch to bring water off the Yellowstone to the farm (with the benefit of dynamite!).
He enlisted for WWII and served honorably in the Army infantry in battles on fiercely defended small Pacific atolls including Eniwetok and Saipan. In boot camp, he was good with a rifle and they gave him a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). He traded it in for an M1 during his first battle because he said; “The BAR is heavy and they shot the guys carrying BARs!” so he fought the rest of the war with the trusted M1 (and an M1 thumb).
After the war, he married Jean Culbertson in June of 1945 at the halfway house, and over the next 10 years they had three children. He worked as a farm implement mechanic for Larry Aber and Jack Payne.
He also ran his own Ford tractor dealership. In 1975, he began work as a journeyman millwright and welder, then later as a maintenance crew foreman for Montana Power at Colstrip, Mont., commuting to Columbus on his days off. He retired in 1984 and with Jean built a new home north of town where he stayed until his death. In his younger days, he loved to dance with Mom to big band music.
He also liked to get firewood. In 2000, my brother said, “Have you seen Dad’s wood pile lately? He’s got a millennium wood pile going.” We laughed like heck, but we also cherished the opportunity to be in the hills getting wood with Dad.
Leo is survived by his three children Alan (Amy) of Columbus, Lynn Ward (Mark) of Ryegate, and Vance (Deb) of Salt Lake City. He has seven grandchildren: Bryan Drain (Greg) - San Diego; Brandi Maxwell - Houston; Jessica Burch (Zane) – Columbus; Jamie Trinier (Brent) - Calgary, Alberta; Chris Ward (Julie) - Great Falls; Bethany Holzworth (Kevin) - Bozeman; Mary Martens (Dave) - Harve; and nine grandchildren: Will, Zach, Morgan, and Samantha Maxwell - Houston; Lucy Ward - Great Falls; Leo and Ellis Burch – Columbus; Joon Be Holzworth - Bozeman, and Kayle Trinier - Calgary.
Services for Leo will be held at the Columbus Congregational Church at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 with lunch following. Also, a viewing will be held on Thursday, Feb. 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Smith’s Funeral Chapel in Columbus.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the VFW Post 4762, Box 924, Columbus, MT 59019.