I, Barbara (McKnight) Leas, am sorry to announce my husband of 55½ years, Bernie F.Leas, died on Nov. 11, 2019.
We both grew up in Trinity County and our dads, James H. McKnight and Bernie I. Leas, worked for the United States Forest Service.
Bernie was born in 1940. He graduated in 1958 from TCHS and had such happy memories of his classmates. He loved the reunions we were able to attend. He went on to college and graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., with a bachelor’s degree in Geology.
He worked in gas and oil fields in California, but spent most of his career in Alaska — working in the Cook Inlet, North Slope, and in Anchorage managing operations. He had a side journey on a silver mine in the Yukon Territories and a gold mine in California.
Bernie was the only child of Bernie and Zelda Leas, so when he married he got my three brothers — David, Jim, and Donn — and my sister Carla in the bargain. I always appreciated how much he loved them and how kind and respectful he was to my parents, Jim and Cleone McKnight.
Bernie and I had three great kids on our journey together. Deborah Leas (Star, Idaho), Bernie J. Leas (Star, Idaho), and Bettina Thibodeaux (Anchorage, Alaska).
Our son says his Dad was the kindest man you could ever meet. Our girls say they miss their “Poppa’s” wonderful hugs. I miss his smile, his laughter, and his love and care. We have a son-in-law, J.T. Thibodeaux, in Anchorage, Alaska, who we love dearly and a daughter-in-law, Tiffany Leas (Star, Idaho) who has brought a smile to our son’s face, joy to our hearts, and our new baby grandson Ben who is 5 months old.
In total, we have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild ranging in age from 5 months to 31 years old.
When we moved to Star, Idaho about five years ago, Bernie never stopped missing the people he worked with in the oil patch. He yearned to go back to work, but age and his health got in the way.
So I will continue life’s journey ... it sure hurts sometimes. As someone once said, “We know that grief is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a lack of faith ... It is the price you pay for love.”
And love him I did and I can honestly say it was worth the price.
The family held a private celebration of life for Bernie in November.