Leedom worked late for Willmar sports
Willmar Cardinal athletics loses a friend today when Kathy Leedom retires as district superintendent. This is her final day on the job. She was here 14 years, hired out of the Marshall system. Indications are that she gave Willmar all she had. Sh...
Willmar Cardinal athletics loses a friend today when Kathy Leedom retires as district superintendent.
This is her final day on the job. She was here 14 years, hired out of the Marshall system.
Indications are that she gave Willmar all she had.
She was a regular at home games. It didn't matter what sport.
At basketball games, she would stand near the risers. She was always friendly and approachable.
Judging by the day's headlines, she might be immersed in difficult negotiations or personnel decisions.
But there she was watching the game at 8 p.m. and beyond. Perfectly erect. Not a hair out of place. Her smart clothes looking like they'd just come off the hanger.
Somehow, the challenge of running a "corporation" that day never seemed to wear her down, but had seemingly built her up.
Leedom was raised in Appleton and spent her high school years in Marshall (she was a cheerleader), graduating in 1969.
John Leedom, her husband-to-be, graduated one year earlier at Marshall and played baseball for the Tigers.
I asked John if he didn't sometimes resent Kathy's long days.
"No, not really," he told me Wednesday. "She's dedicated and has big responsibilities. She had some tough days, but we have just always supported one another."
The Leedoms have been married 37 years. John, an accounting technician at Kandiyohi Family Services, also retires today.
The couple plans a move to Henderson, Nev., outside Las Vegas, where John's has an older sister.
Many times Kathy expressed her belief in the important role of athletics and fine arts in education.
While Leedom was here, the Willmar Cardinals athletic program added five varsity sports teams. That made her busy evening calendar even more complicated but, I think, it also made her happy.
Ridgewater College football coach Rob Baumgarn is planning a memorial service "sometime after Labor Day" for Adam Milton, who died July 20 from knife wounds suffered in a late night fight near the campus in Willmar.
"It will be for a chance for those people here who knew him and have some closure," said Baumgarn.
Milton moved here from south Florida, in 2007. He started in the Warriors' defensive backfield. He was taking classes this summer.
Baumgarn said the wake is Friday in Milton's home town of Miami with the funeral on Saturday.
The Warriors start practice Aug. 7 for the season opener Aug. 30 at St. Cloud State University against Itasca College.
High school athletes have one more week of vacation before pre-season begins for fall sports. Many Willmar teams will have in three to five competitions by the time school starts on Sept. 4, a Thursday. That includes the soccer teams, which will each have five games in the books by then.
Ken Heitzman's football team will make among the longest trips in Cardinal football history when it opens at Bemidji on Aug. 29.
This year's home games in the eight-game regular season are Fergus Falls (Sept. 5), Little Falls (Sept. 19, hall of fame/ homecoming), Sauk Rapids (Oct. 3) and Rocori (Oct. 10).
The September road schedule will be tough. The Cardinals are at Brainerd on Sept. 12 and at Sartell on Sept. 26.
The Willmar American Legion team had one of its better state tournament showings last year when Post 167 went 2-2.
After a 3-2 loss to Holy Angels of Richfield, Willmar beat the St. Cloud Chutes 10-1 and Tri-City Red 12-7. Centennial of Circle Pines ended the District 7 champion's season 4-3 in 10 innings.
The Division I 16-team tournament, hosted by Burnsville, starts Wednesday. With some district tournaments on going, first-round pairings are not yet posted.
Eden Prairie has won four straight Division I titles. Willmar won its third straight district crown on Tuesday sweeping Alexandria 13-2 and 9-8 at Marshall's Legion Field.