Nathan A. Leikip

Nathan A. Leikip, 45, for­merly of Sheri­dan, WY, died Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 16, 2023, at his home in Over­land Park, KS after a 19-year bat­tle with PTSD and the phys­i­cal pain from in­juries he sus­tained dur­ing his tour of duty with the US Army in Op­er­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom (OIF). Even though Nathan took his own life, he was a bap­tized child of God, and is now in the arms of his Risen Sav­ior and is free of pain. He is healthy, happy, and whole. Nathan, whose name means “Gift of God”, was born Feb­ru­ary 19, 1977, in Antigo, WI. He was adopted by his par­ents, Daniel J. Leikip (de­ceased) and Beth M. Leikip-Man­thei in Mer­rill, WI, where he spent his early child­hood. Fol­low­ing his fa­ther’s death, his mother mar­ried Jay Man­thei, and the fam­ily moved to Sheri­dan in 1992. He grad­u­ated from Sheri­dan High School in 1995 and en­listed in the US Navy where he served aboard the sub­ma­rine USS Rhode Is­land from 1996-2000. Fol­low­ing the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks, he was com­pelled to en­list in the US Army to serve our coun­try again. While de­ployed in Iraq, he sus­tained in­juries after an at­tack on his con­voy in No­vem­ber 2003. He re­turned home and was hon­ored by his home­town. After a short visit, he went back to Iraq. Two weeks later, in Feb­ru­ary 2004, the ve­hi­cle he was rid­ing in hit an IED. Nathan sus­tained in­juries from that at­tack; how­ever, the other two sol­diers in the ve­hi­cle were killed. He re­ceived two Pur­ple Hearts and the Army Com­men­da­tion Medal for Com­bat Valor. De­spite his de­sire to re­turn to Iraq and com­plete  his  mis­sion,  Nathan  was  hon­or­ably  dis­charged in Jan­u­ary 2005. Nathan pas­sion­ately served our coun­try and was a true pa­triot.
 Upon dis­charge, he at­tended the po­lice acad­emy in Trinidad, CO, and be­came a sher­iff’s deputy for the Bay­field Col­orado Mar­shal’s Of­fice until 2009. He held var­i­ous jobs in Florida and again in Col­orado, be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to Kansas City to be near fam­ily. Nathan ac­tively hunted, fished, and camped in the Big Horn Moun­tains and in Col­orado. In Kansas, he en­joyed cruis­ing around on his Harley-David­son mo­tor­cy­cle, restor­ing vin­tage ve­hi­cles with his brother-in-law, and horse­back rid­ing.

He is pre­ceded in death by his fa­ther, his ma­ter­nal grand­par­ents Willis and Selda Weerts;  pa­ter­nal  grand­par­ents Ray­mond and Au­re­lia Leikip, as well as his step-brother, Jon Man­thei. He is sur­vived by his mother and step­fa­ther both of Sheri­dan, his sis­ter, Melissa Leikip-Mad­sen (Paul) of Lea­wood, Kan., and nu­mer­ous aunts, un­cles, and cousins.

Nathan was a man of honor and in­tegrity. He was a loyal friend – al­ways will­ing to help in times of need. Rough around the edges, he had a heart of gold and an amaz­ing smile and laugh that brought joy to every­one he met. He will be deeply missed by many. A Cel­e­bra­tion of Life will be held at Im­manuel Lutheran Church in Sheri­dan, and Nathan will be buried with full mil­i­tary hon­ors. The date of the ser­vice will be an­nounced in the near fu­ture. In lieu of flow­ers, do­na­tions in Nathan’s mem­ory can be made to Tun­nels to Tow­ers Foun­da­tion, Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans and Mar­tin Luther Gram­mar School, or Im­manuel Lutheran Church in Sheri­dan.

On be­half of all the men and women who have served our coun­try, the fam­ily en­cour­ages every­one to con­tact their con­gress­men and ask them to pur­sue bet­ter men­tal health as­sis­tance for our re­turn­ing com­bat vet­er­ans.

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