Leslie Snavely passed away on Oct. 15, 2020 at Country House Residence in Dickinson, ND. He was 78.

Memorial Services for Les were Oct. 23, 2020, at the Bowman Lutheran Church.  Pastor Rene Johnson officiated with burial to follow at a later date.

Les Snavely was born Aug. 4, 1942 in Roundup, MT to Jesse R. Snavely, Jr. and Ruth Field Snavely. Les was the oldest of four children: Leslie, Sherrill, Jan and Paula.

His early memories included growing up on the Cheyenne River Reservation. In 1949, his parents moved the family to Leith, ND, where his father was the depot-agent for the Milwaukee Railroad and his mother owned the grocery store and movie theater.

In 1956, the family moved to Mott, ND. Les graduated from Mott High School in 1960. Les opened his own motorcycle shop in Mott, attended NDSU and joined the Peace Corp. He served in the Army from 1967-1969 and was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany.

Les married Marie Betchner on March 5, 1970 in Waukegan, IL. The judge recessed a “Peeping Tom” case to marry them. They moved to Milwaukee. Les took a job in carbon factory making generator brushes and Marie was employed as a short order cook. They saved every penny earned so they could tour Europe.

After touring Europe, they returned to Dickinson State University. Les graduated from DSU in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in English and a Minor in Library Science and Journalism. In the fall of 1972, Les began teaching at Bowman Public Schools. He was the school Librarian and taught English and Philosophy. Daughter, Sarah, was born. Later, son, Hamilton.

Les was active in the National Education Association and North Dakota Education Association. He was instrumental in the founding of the NDEA Foundation which still gives grants to Teachers for Innovation in the classroom.

Les was a avid collector of objects and their stories. His passion for old motorcycle collecting started when he began searching for his grandfather, Leslie Field’s motorcycle. He later found that machine. He amassed a personal library of books about books. He often traveled to the Smithsonian and Library of Congress to research steam powered motorcycles, the Milwaukee Road railroad, family history, and whatever new area of interest that had sparked his curiosity.

Les was active with Bowman County Historical Society, Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, Yesterday’s Farmers, Chumps Investment Club, and Bowman-Slope Community Foundation and served on the Bowman City Commission. His support was an important element of the revitalization of the Bowman Regional Public Library.

He will be remembered as a proud supporter of Bowman and the people who make it their home, the “Old Motorcycle Man,” a voracious reader and researcher, a skilled carpenter, a connoisseur of bold and whimsical ideas, and a champion of his family, students and colleagues accomplishments.

His parents; his sisters, Sherrill and Paula; and his son, Hamilton Snavely, precede him in death.  

He is survived by his wife; Marie Snavely, his brother, Jan Snavely [Susan], daughter, Sarah Snavely and niece, Patricia North; and life-long friends.

Memorials to Les Snavely can be made to the Bowman Regional Public Library or Bowman-Slope Community Foundation

To plant a tree in memory of Leslie Snavely as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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