Gary Dean Leffert, 56, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 31, 2020, with his loving family by his side after a courageous 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer. We are devastated to lose this wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend who left us much too soon, but take comfort in the fact that he is no longer suffering and is in the loving arms of Jesus.
Gary was born on March 5, 1964, the third son of John and Rosalie Leffert, growing up in “Old Town” Lenexa, with his older brothers Tim and Dave and younger brother Jeff. He was friends with many neighborhood kids and several of those friendships have endured through the years. His family frequently camped, and Gary learned to fish and hunt for morel mushrooms. He also learned the value of hard work from his father and started helping with farm chores and yard work at an early age. He played football in junior high, built tree forts with his friends, and ran the neighborhood with his brothers.
Gary graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in 1983 and spent the next few years honing his skills in a variety of occupations including roofing, electrical, and general construction before settling on concrete work, following in his dad and brother Dave’s footsteps. He worked for several companies pouring foundations and pool decks before branching out to start his own business. Concrete Creations was established in 1996 and Gary ran the company for 23 years, creating and building water features, sidewalks, driveways, patios and the like in the Kansas City area. He was honest, treated his subcontractors well, and provided quality work for his delighted customers.
He also developed a serious passion for hunting. Gary owned several bird dogs over the years and went pheasant and quail hunting with his friends. His hunting travels took him to western Kansas to hunt whitetail and mule deer, both with a rifle and a bow. In the early 90’s, Gary expanded his hunting trips to ranches in Oklahoma and Texas for wild boars and exotics, and he was captivated by the Rio Bonito Ranch in the hill country of Texas. He became friends with the caretakers and began working as a hunting guide on the ranch so he could hunt in his spare time, extending his visits to a month or more. He also hunted elk in Colorado, Idaho and Canada.
Gary met the love of his life, Sheri Johnson, in the early 90’s and they married in 1996. They settled into a home in western Shawnee and welcomed their son Joshua Hunter into the world in 1999. Gary was a loving and devoted dad. He taught Josh how to fish, ride a four-wheeler, play catch, hunt and so much more. He cheered on his son at every karate tournament, soccer, basketball, baseball and football game and track meet, proudly watched him graduate from high school and encouraged his college aspirations. The family went on annual vacations to explore the country, from the ocean to the cities to the mountains, and enjoyed quality time together.
Farming was another passion of Gary’s teaching Josh how to cut and bale hay, garden, and help with tasks around the Leffert farm in Tonganoxie, where Gary’s folks retired. Gary worked with his dad and brother Dave raising pigs and cattle and tended an impressive vegetable garden. His love of the outdoors and the country contented him to happily tinker around the farm all day on weekends and took on additional farming responsibilities when his father’s health failed in recent years. Quite simply, Gary had a big heart for helping others and wouldn’t hesitate to grab his tools and help a neighbor or friend with a project or repair.
After many years of robust health, Gary was stunned with the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in May 2019. He was determined to beat the dismal odds and bravely underwent months of chemo and radiation, followed by major surgery to remove the tumor, but nothing could stop the steady progression of this horrible disease. Gary was preceded in death by his father John and is survived by his wife Sheri, his son Joshua, his mother Rosalie, and his brothers Dave, Jeff and Tim, along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews. He deeply loved his family and friends and will be dearly missed by all.
A Celebration of Life for Gary is planned for Sunday, September 27th, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Oak Shelter of Black Hoof Park, 9053 Monticello Road in Lenexa, KS. Lunch will be provided, with a short memorial service at 2 p.m. Come eat a bite, share your stories about Gary and celebrate the life of this extraordinary man who touched so many lives. Due to COVID we are limited to 100 people at a time, so hoping to stagger attendance during the day. Hand sanitizer will be provided and masks are encouraged. In lieu of flowers, we encourage you to send donations to PanCan.org, the pancreatic cancer action network that funds research to develop effective screening procedures and hopefully a cure. Donations can also be made in Gary’s name to the National Park Foundation at nationalparks.org