In Memory - Leo Wolfe
My relationship with Uncle Leo was unique. There would be long periods of no contact, but then I saw him, and my Wolfe side cousins, fairly consistently from his 90th birthday on. Because of this, I ended up learning many things about his life well after they had happened. There were a lot of gaps in my knowledge to be filled in. In his first 90 years, there were many gaps indeed. His longevity gave me a chance to get to know him and people close to him. I’ll always count that as a blessing.

Leo Wolfe was my mother’s brother, one of the “Out West” uncles who, as alluded to in the previous paragraph, had so many interests and roles, I leave it to others to better tell you about them all. This page and all the “wings” are my attempt to honor his memory and celebrate his life. His children contributed greatly to these pages, and I thank them for providing insights and memories that this out-of-town nephew would never be able to.

My hope is that the Memories section at the bottom of this page grows so large that it will take a while to get through them all, and that people enjoy remembering, or learning about, a very interesting man.


Leo Joseph Wolfe, age 97, was born in Montevideo, Minnesota to Clayton and Josephine Wolfe. He was the second of five children. He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps prior to enlisting in the US Army in World War II where he served in a small arms repair unit. After discharge from the Army, Leo attended University of Montana, earning a Bachelor's degree in forestry. While in college, Leo spent two summers as a smoke-jumper at the Missoula, Montana jump base. Also while in college he met Nola Kearney, whom he married June 15, 1948.

During their first summer the couple lived in Glacier National Park where Leo was employed to pack in supplies to the fire towers. He graduated from college in 1950. Leo worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs engaged in land operations and economic development throughout his career. The early years of Leo's career were spent in Montana and the Dakotas before moving in 1952 to Zuni, New Mexico. His work took him in 1955 to Dulce, New Mexico and in 1962 moved to Coulee Dam, Washington. Leo moved his family to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1972 and he retired in 1977. Leo and Nola moved to Durango, Colorado in 1987 and in 2002 moved to Spokane, Washington.

Active in many groups, from archaeology to bicycling clubs, Leo had active friends in all of these locations. He had an ardent interest in firearms and was an expert marksman and belonged to many pistol and rifle teams. His membership in the NRA dates back to 1946. He was a gifted woodworker, making and selling wares of a huge variety, from weaving tools to elegant rocking horses, boxes and doors. Leo spent part of every day in his workshop for nearly three decades.

He was an avid hiker and backpacker, and enjoyed cross-country skiing. Bicycling was more than just a hobby to Leo, who would ride 50 or more miles per day, several days a week for nearly 40 years. In 1974 he completed a bicycle ride over the Old Santa Fe Trail to Lawrence, KS, a seven day ride of just over 700 miles. And in 1985 he rode 1,400 miles in 14 days from Santa Fe to Montevideo, Minnesota to attend his High School reunion.

Leo was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Ed, Bob and Tom, and his sister, Mary Agnes (Chase). He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Nola, their children: Teresa (Spoon), Wolf Willow and Stuart (McKinnon), Nick, Tim and Darla (Brewer), and Patty and Wayne (Sanders), as well as grandchildren, Nola, Simon, James, Julian, Patrick, Phelan, Nick, Max and Molly, along with great-grandchildren, Kellan and Emma.

Written by Tim Wolfe, Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Nov. 4, 2018


Teresa   Willow   Tim   Patty