May 27, 2024

Leslie “Les” Ray French

Leslie “Les” Ray French, 83, died Monday, January 16, 2017, at home surrounded by family. 

He was born March 20, 1933, at Old Freedom, Oklahoma, the son of Merle “Pug” Henry and Nellie Mae (Sharp) French. Always the practical joker, Les honed his skills on his siblings while growing up on the family farm. 

He attended Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State) for a year and paid $3 a week for room and board. He served in the United States Army as a Private First Class and was an instructor for the Department of Aviation Maintenance at the Army Aviation School at Camp Rucker, Alabama. 

Les owned and operated a successful NAPA store, Sebastopol Auto Parts, in Sebastopol, California, for over twenty years before selling the business and moving to Dodge City in 1990 to watch his grandsons, Logan and Conner, grow up. There he owned and operated The Aqua Slide for many years and was later a school bus driver for USD 443. 

He was a proud 32° member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry S.J. USA and the Grand Lodge of A.F. and A.M. of Kansas, Ulysses Lodge 435. 

Les was an ornery story-teller who always kept people on their toes. He liked preparing home-cooked meals (chicken-fried steak was one of his favorites) and he especially enjoyed baking birthday cakes for his family. One of Les’s passions was raising, breeding, and training champion cutting and quarter horses. 

Survivors include daughters Shannon Morse and husband, Pat, Dodge City, and Sutton Maple; sisters, Barbara Fritzemeyer, Amarillo, Texas, and Melba Artz, Fresno, California; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Bob French, and sister, Loana Darr. 

Funeral service will be 3:00 pm Thursday January 19, 2017 at Ziegler Funeral Chapel with Jeff Hiers officiating. Burial will be at a later date in Freedom, Oklahoma. Book signing will be from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Wednesday January 18 at Ziegler Funeral Chapel, Dodge City. There will be no public visitation as cremation has taken place. 

The family suggests memorials to Hospice of the Prairie in care of Ziegler Funeral Chapel, 1901 N. 14th Ave., Dodge City, Kansas 67801.