MANNSVILLE — On Friday, June 14, 2013, Leland Read Elwell, 72, departed this earth and joined our Heavenly Father. Read was born to the late Hazel Rebecca Read and Leland Leroy Elwell on February 23, 1941, in Warrensburg, Missouri.
He grew up in Neola, Iowa, and graduated from Carlisle Military Academy in Bamberg, South Carolina. He was Captain of Company B and on the Honor Council his senior year. Read served as a Medic in the United States Air Force from 1962 to 1966. Two years were served at Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for saving a baby's life. Read embraced the Japanese culture learning the language and taking in the scenery mountain climbing. He studied under a Japanese Master, earning his Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. He finished his military career at Whiteman Air Force Base in Warrensburg where he met his future wife Betty Jane Andersen. They married on March 13, 1966, in St Paul's Lutheran Church in Atlantic, Iowa. During their 47 year marriage, three children were born into this union.
Read graduated from Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas, as a Registered X-Ray and Nuclear Medicine Technologist. In 1971, he set up the Nuclear Medicine Department at St. Catherine's Hospital in Garden City, Kansas. During his off-time, Read volunteered for six years as a Deputy Sheriff for the Finney County Sheriff's Department and became a licensed pilot and flew prisoner transports.
When living in Kansas City and Oklahoma City, Read worked as a Capital Equipment salesman for Greb X-Ray Company. In 1992, he added an MBA from California Coast University to his list of accomplishments.
His love for motorcycles took him to Sturgis, South Dakota, several times to the yearly Biker Rally on his "Big Dog" motorcycle. Read also belonged to the Scottish Rite and achieved the level of 32nd Degree Mason.
In his pursuit to living life to the fullest, he carried out his life long dream of learning to play the Bagpipes. He played at McConnel Air Force Base for 9/11 Tributes, played at weddings, funerals, family functions and holiday parades. He was a member of a Bagpipe band in Wichita. Read was also a member of the Methodist Church and the Ardmore Masonic Lodge.
He is survived by: wife, Betty Elwell, Ardmore, Oklahoma; children, Ethan Elwell, Ardmore, Oklahoma, Angela Sanders, Fort Worth, Texas, and Jeremy Elwell, Tucson, Arizona; grandchildren, Amber and Bret Elwell, Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Brittany and Ross Sanders, Fort Worth, Texas; brothers, Roger Elwell and wife, Judy, Naches Washington, and James Elwell and wife, Cindy, Council Bluffs, Iowa; nieces, Beth Blasé, Housing Springs, Missouri, Shelly Murphy, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Rebekah Elwell, Naches, Washington; nephews, William Mitchell and wife, Shelia, Banhart, Missouri, Matt Mitchell and wife, Emily, Bridgeton, Missouri, and James Elwell, Council Bluffs, Iowa; brother-in-law, Henry Mitchell, High Ridge, Missouri; and sister-in-law, Dorothy Cade and husband, John, Simi, California.
Read was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Peg Mitchell; and two sisters-in-law, Ruth and husband, Dale West and Anna and husband, Bill Roberg.
Services will be 10 a.m. today at the Mannsville Methodist Church, Mannsville, Oklahoma. Frank Simpson will officiate the services. Music arranged by Gayle Avery. Interment will be at Mannsville Cemetery, Mannsville, Oklahoma.
Pallbearers: Ethan Elwell, Jeremy Elwell, Bret Elwell and Bill Mitchell, Erie Gonzalev-Rubio and John Kachelhoffer.
Services will be under the direction of Watts Funeral Home, Madill, Oklahoma. Condolences may be sent to wattsfuneralhome.com.