Leilah Mae Talbot was born Aug. 30, 1928, to William and Edna (Brown) Tyree. She spent her childhood in Whiteclay, Hay Springs and Chadron. She attended a rural school for her elementary education and graduated from Chadron High School.
Leilah met her husband, Lee Talbot, at a dance in Rushville. They were married April 28, 1948, and moved into Lee’s childhood home 17 miles northwest of Rushville. They operated the ranch until their retirement. Theirs was a storybook marriage. You did not think of one without thinking of the other. During this time, Lee and Leilah raised four daughters: Barbara/Bobbie (Mel) Dreyer - Rapid City, S.D., Nancy (Jim) Allen- Elm Creek, Deborah/Debbie (Arlyn) Panko - Tekamah, and Carmen (Greg) Pelster - Elsie.
She raised a large garden each year and then filled the basement shelves with home-canned fruits and vegetables. When the time came that all four girls would soon be in college, Leilah went to work at the Farmers Home Administration office in Rushville, and worked there for 20+ years. Leilah was a kind person, with a ready smile and quick wit. She was known for her “corny” jokes, her love of dancing, and her fantastic cooking, especially her home made bread and lemon meringue pie. She never complained and “bloomed wherever she was planted.”
They sold the ranch and moved to Rapid City, S.D., in 1996. Leilah joined a group of ladies at the Canyon Lake Senior Citizen’s center, and they started a line dancing group that gave performances at various events.
Leilah’s health declined in her later years, and she sold their home west of Rapid City and moved to Westhills Village.
Leilah passed away Jan. 25, 2018, in Rapid City, S.D. She is preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, two sisters, and her husband, Lee. Leilah is survived by her sister-in-law, Kay Tyree, four daughters, 16 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rapid City, S.D., with Pastor Bob Scott officiating. Visitation will be Feb. 2, from 4-6 p.m. at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home.