Leroy Vornkahl was born to Henry and Minnie Schumann Vornkahl on August 3, 1930 in Sealy, Texas. He was called to be with his Heavenly Savior on Jan. 31, 2019.
The Vornkahl family made their home in the Peters Community, and Leroy attended Peters School until he entered Bellville High School, graduating in 1948. He then attended Blinn College and paid his tuition by driving the school bus.
He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1951, obtained the rank of staff sergeant, served in Korea, and was discharged in 1955. He then moved to Texas City where he worked for Monsanto Chemical Company until his retirement in 1985.
He met Pat Westbrook in Texas City, and they were married in 1960 at Memorial Lutheran Church. They are the parents of one daughter, Minda Karen.
Although Leroy lived in Texas City, his heart was always in Austin County, and shortly after he married, he ventured into the ranching world. He purchased five bred Hereford heifers, and the young couple soon found themselves with ten head. Pat asked, “Now what do we do?” He quickly answered, “We buy a bull.”
Leroy was never happier than when he was outdoors with his cattle and was constantly reading and learning about the cattle business. Always a religious man, he often said “I worship better when I’m outside.” Pat adds, “Three times a day for 58 ½ years he never ate a meal without thanking God and me for his food.”
It was only natural for the size of the herd and the size of the ranch to increase. He discovered that making his own hay would be advantageous, so on any hot summer day he could be found in a hay meadow. For his efforts, he won several awards in the Austin County Hay Show, sponsored by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
This gentle giant was the manager of his daughter’s softball team, served as a Boy Scout leader, was a member of St. John Lutheran Church, the Sealy American Legion, and was a true steward of the range. Leroy and Pat were supporters of the Austin County Fair, and perhaps the biggest honor bestowed on him was for him and Pat to be named grand marshals of the 2018 Fair parade.
He truly loved God, his wife, family, Texas and the United States of America. His granddaughters recently gave him a wooden plaque that reads, “Paw Paw has silver in his hair, but gold in his heart.” He adamantly lived by the adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Leroy was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Willie Mae and husband, Waco Buntzel, and Lorene; brothers, Henry Lee and wife Barbara and Melvin.
He is survived by his wife, Pat, daughter, Minda Karen and husband Joseph Paul Maas, granddaughters, Ashton Lee and husband, Dallas Garrison, Alexandra Leigh and special friend, Mitchell Young, and great granddaughter, Malone, and several nieces and nephews.
Honorary pallbearers are Clayton Lacy, Mark Vornkahl, Greg Vornkahl, Stephan Paras, Jeffery Paras, Ray Schomburg and Ken Gore.
Arrangements are under the direction of Knesek Funeral Chapels. Visitation was at Knesek Funeral Chapel in Bellville on Feb. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. and memorial service was at St. John Lutheran Church on Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. Pastor Andrew Bell presiding.
Memorials may be made to St. John Lutheran Church, 520 N. Holland, Bellville, Texas 77418 or to the American Cancer Society,1710 Meissner Rd, Bellville, Texas 77418.