Leah Ray, age 91, of Hendricks, MN and formally of Medora, ND passed away on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at the Hendricks Nursing Home in Hendricks, MN. A private family Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the St. Paul’s Catholic Church in White, SD. Burial will be at the Medora Cemetery in Medora, ND at a later date. Houseman Funeral Home-Birk Chapel of Hendricks, MN is entrusted with the arrangements.
Leah Ray was born on March 8, 1929 in Belfield, ND to Pete (Ward S.) and Gladys (Heaton) Northrop. She grew up on the ranch on Whitetail Creek. She attended the Black Butte School for the first eight years and then Belfield High School, graduating in 1946. She attended Dickinson State Teachers College in the summer of 1947, earning her teaching certification.
In the fall of 1947, Leah taught country school at the Glade School (north of Belfield), staying with Bill and Elva Glade. In the fall of 1948, she began teaching at the Maverick Flats School (west of Grassy Butte) staying with the Albert Smith family. Due to lack of coal and wood to heat the school she “up and left” and went home in January 1949. Her brother Ward came across 20 miles on horseback to get her. Leah returned to the ranch. Her dad told her, “If you are going to be home, you are going to work.” He gave her a pitchfork and a team of horses to feed hay. Here she remained till spring. On June 15, 1949, she married Leo J. Ray at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Belfield, ND. Leo and Leah made their home on the ranch south of Medora, ND for 30 years. They sold the ranch in the fall of 1979. They spent the winter of 1979-80 in Dickinson, ND living in the Fred Luchsinger home, close to medical facilities, after Leo suffered a heart attack that fall. They moved to Sidney MT in the spring of 1980. On June 15, 1999, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Medora. In October of 2000, they moved to Bismarck. Leo passed away on August 4, 2001. Leah continued to live in Bismarck. She became a resident of St. Gabriel’s Nursing home in February 2016. She moved to the nursing home in Hendricks, MN in February 2017.
Leah is survived by her son, Don (Linda) Ray of White, SD, grandchildren, Eric Ray of Brookings, SD and Kristen Ray of Sioux Falls, SD; brother, Bruce Northrop of Medora, ND, sister-in-law, Toby Northrop of Grants Pass, OR, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband (Leo), parents (Pete and Gladys Northrop), brothers, Ward Northrop and Dale Northrop.