Leona Buyan 1927-2021

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Leona Buyan 1927-2021

Leona Buyan passed on Sept. 1, 2021 with loving family by her side. Leona was born on Jan. 24, 1927 in Whitehall to Italian immigrants Guy and Lucille (Rinaldi) George. Leona grew up on the family ranch at Waterloo with her parents and four siblings, Guy George, Gloria Broskle, Olive Smith and Rose Shoemaeker. Leona had many fond memories with her siblings while growing up.

The George family would sell turkeys, chickens, cream, butter and milk in Butte and the surrounding area. They would go door to door to deliver their produce. Their home was always open to neighbors or family. Leona loved being outside and not in the house. The girls worked right along with the men, working hard and doing just about anything the men were doing. Leona would always drop everything to go help her parents in the fields even after she was married.

Leona’s grandparents, Paulion and Filomena Giorgi owned a boarding house in Meaderville in Butte, they spent a lot of time there. While visiting with her grandparents, Leona would tell stories on how they would visit and watch people go by. The women in their furs, men all dressed up with their fancy cars. Times have certainly changed from those days to today she always said.

The first parade Leona attended was in Boulder at the age of 16 on her horse Rusty. After that day she was hooked into riding in parades. Her next horse was Carmen, which she rode in a parade in Pullman, Washington along with a dear friend, Rai Molitor. Leona then had Bennie and Bandit. Leona rode in parades in Ennis, the Madison County fair in Twin Bridges, Dillon, Butte and Blackfoot, Idaho. Her last parade was in Dillon in the year of 1985. She still has her saddle, uniforms and awards that she had won over the years.

Leona married Bill Buyan, Sr. on Aug. 3, 1957. They had two boys, Bill and Guy.

They lived up on the Missouri flats of the upper Madison. Bill had purchased 2,800 acres in 1951. They owned a few cows but mainly would run pastured yearlings. In the fall they would move to Ennis for the winter months and return to their home in the upper Madison for the summer months. Bill Jr. was born March 1959. In August of 1959 the Quake Lake earthquake took place. Their place was three miles down the river from the slide. Leona has many stories about that night and how lucky they were. The next morning Bill Sr. went up to the slide to see if he could help out in any way. Leona loaded up Bill Jr., Dorothy Shaw, her friend and her daughter and headed to Ennis. Leona tells the story about how there was cracks and rocks allover the road, even had to move some so they could get by.

Bill and Leona purchased Buyan Ranch in Sheridan in the year 1961. There they raised cattle and quarter horses. Guy was born in 1964. The boys got into rodeo and Leona would haul them everywhere to participate. In 1991, Leona and the boys decided they needed to be more diversified and started raising seed potatoes. Leona loved sorting spuds in the fall during harvest and spring for shipping and planting. About 15 years ago Leona could no longer stand and sort spuds due to her health, it was hard for her to give it up.

Leona spent many hours spraying weeds on a 4-wheeler around the ranch. There was one thing Leona could do was get in her truck and shoot those gophers. Can’t tell you how many gophers she has shot over the years. Most years she would shoot up to 10,000 rounds. In July 2017 Leona made the decision to go to Home Park Assisting Living.

She was preceded in death by her husband Bill Sr. in 1977, her parents and all her siblings.

Leona leaves behind her sons Bill (Peggy) and Guy (Laurie). Also her five grandchildren, Marcus, Mike, Angela (Owen), Joel (Mary) and Lauren. She has four great-grandchildren, Clintin, Evelyn, Lewis, Carolyn and Addy. Leona loved her grandchildren and has enjoyed watching them all grow up. Lois Ferguson, which she considered a daughter. Leona is also survived by her brothers-in-law Jack Smith and Bud Shoemaeker. Her dearest friend, Bev Smith. Also, many nieces, nephews and relatives that she was so very fond of.

Services were Tues, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. at K & L Mortuary in Sheridan. All are invited to join Leona’s family for a reception at the Alder Community Center in Alder following a graveside service at the Sheridan Cemetery.

The family would like to thank everyone that cared for her at Home Park Assisted Living and Ruby Valley Hospital. Memorial can be made in Leona’s honor to Ruby Valley Hospital Foundation or Sheridan Cemetery or of your choice.

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