Leo J Rael

October 20, 1932 ~ April 23, 2018 (age 85)

Leo J Rael left this world on April 23, 2018 exactly the way he planned.  He called his sisters asked if they could come be with his daughter.  He spent his last days laughing and telling funny stories with his nieces and sisters.  A room full of girls!  Just like he planned.  Yes, he said that.

He was born October 20, 1932 To Apolinar Rael and Estella Manuelita DeHerrera in Ft. Garland Colorado.  He was the middle child of 11 children. 

How do you describe a man that was so incredibly sweet and funny?  His eyes lit up when he was telling one of his stories, he was cool, calm and cavalier always.  This was a man that spent every fall in the mountains to hunt and spend time with God as he knew him.  He spent his summers out at the lake without fail.  His camp was always full of people young and old, no matter where he went.  His granddaughter said he could do anything.  These are the memories his grandchildren have.

There are so many stories that you can’t put them on a piece of paper, so many good happy memories that you can't sum them up.

My father was the map that we traveled this world by.  He was everything we all wanted to be.  He always managed to have fun doing it.  He made people want to follow him, he was a natural leader in a cowboy sort of way.  He worked to live, he never lived to work.  The main objective of each day was to make a story worth telling.  He was fearless, he took chances, He made his own path.  He was generous to a fault.  But more than anything, he loved.  He loved his wife, his grandkids, his friends, his jobs, everything was an adventure to enjoy.  He loved quietly and calmly.  He enjoyed each day and each person for who they were.  He had nothing to prove, he desired nothing, because in his mind he already had everything he ever wanted.  Lots of attention, and the best stories ever! 

He had stories of 17 different rescues, but really, he rescued many, many more.  He was our hero. He told Michael, his youngest grandson that people may forget a lot of things, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

In my earliest memory of him, we are riding across the sparkling white prairie, on a big brown horse, my head peeking out of the buttons between his coat, snow quietly falling...  I have never been so safe, secure and warm since…  Just listening to his soft breath and the beat of his heart.  I was there the day these two things went away.  He told me we would be okay.  I know we will.

Leo is preceded in death by his wife Ernestine, his daughter Denise, his mother and father, Apolinar and Estella Rael, His brothers Dale and Alfonso, his sisters Ruby, Gloria and Dorothy.

He is survived by his daughter Teddy, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, his brother Victor, his four sisters, Edna, Teresa, Irene, Bernie, several nieces and nephews and friends.

Leo was a member of La Virgin de Guadalupe Church in Mesquite Nevada. A Catholic mass and rosary will be held for both Ernestine and Leo Rael at the Immaculate Conception church, when I bring them both home to be placed with their daughter Denise in June.

My Dad requested that you keep the camp fires burning and the stories going and find something to celebrate every day.  He will see you later… right now, he is going to a huge family / friend reunion.

The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their guestbook at

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