Leah Marie Veland


(Apr. 10, 2009)

Leah Marie Veland of Powell, formerly of Billings, died Friday, April 10 after a short battle with cancer. Leah was born Aug. 14, 1978 to Larry and Joyce (Jamison) Veland in Lincoln, Neb., and she was baptized into the Christian faith on Sept. 10, 1978 at Zion Lutheran Church in Ellendale, N.D. She confirmed her baptismal vows on May 2, 1993 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Truman, Minn.

Leah attended Plankinton (S.D.) public shools for three years until her parents moved to Truman where her father was pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church. She attended St. Paul Lutheran School through eighth grade and graduated from Martin Luther High School in 1997. She entered Presentation College that fall, majoring in nursing. When her health interfered with her chosen profession, she decided to be a teacher and transferred to Concordia University in Seward, Neb. She graduated in May 2005 and began working at the Center for Generations, St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Billings shortly after. Leah loved the children she taught there, calling them her “kiddos.”

At age five, Leah was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (a disease that causes tumors to form on nerve endings in the body) when she had her first surgery. Many more surgeries were necessary over the years, but all the tumors were benign until the one removed last November. Treatments proved unsuccessful.

Leah is survived by her mother, Joyce; sisters Teri Stoppel of Lincoln, Neb. and Susan Forrest of Frisco, Texas; brother Kirk Beuster (Carrie) of Powell; grandfather Ernest Veland of Ellendale, N.D.; and numerous aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Powell on Wednesday, April 15 at 10:30 a.m. Memorials may be sent to Center for Generations, St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Billings, to the Children’s Tumor Foundation at 95 Pine St., 16th Floor, New York, NY 10005, or to a charity of one’s choice.