Leon E. Friend, 94, was born to William G. Friend and Ella Anne Simpkins in Eureka, Kansas, on January 5, 1927. He graduated from Neal High School in 1947. He entered his Savior's presence on April 23, 2021 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
On his way to Chillicothe School of Telegraphy (1948), Leon was led to the Lord. Following his missionary calling to Native Americans, he attended Prairie Bible Institute (1957). Heading to the mission field, his family was in a car accident May 9, 1957, taking his first wife, Mary Jo, and eldest son, Little Bill. After recovering, Leon, Leanne, and David, proceeded to Thoreau, NM, in 1958, serving with Berean Mission. Leon and Sandra were married April 5, 1959, in the Navajo church at Thoreau, NM. He ministered to the Navajo Indians at Mariano Lake, NM; serving under UIM International, the Pueblo Indians near Albuquerque, NM and the Cherokee as the Hospital Chaplain at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, OK,
He married Mary Joelma Buck in 1950. Together they had 3 children, William Leon "Little Bill" Friend, Leanne Friend, David Friend (Denise). He married Sandra Suzanne Schwinn in 1959. Together they had 2 children, Lois Ann Friend Bickford (Jay), John Mark Friend (Deborah). He is also survived by 7 grandchildren, Candice Friend Ruggles (Luke), Steven Bickford, Travis Friend, Kevin Bickford (Laura), Brandon Bickford, Andrew Friend (Victoria), Daniel Friend, 3 great-grandchildren, Elise Ruggles, Katherine and Lucy Bickford. Several nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends also survive him.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Gideons International (gideons.org) or Indian Bible College (indianbible.org).
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