GREAT FALLS – The legacy of Leroy Strand continues to be felt in and around Great Falls and north-central Montana.
A press release from Benefis Health System says an estate gift from the estate of Strand will now support several areas at Benefis.
$446,315 dollars will be put toward the Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute, Gift of Life Housing, and Greatest Need Fund.
Strand’s contribution marks the second estate gift from the late cattle rancher and philanthropist; a previous gift of $880,000 dollars was given to Benefis in the spring of last year.
Funds from that were used to buy state-of-the-art technology for Benefis Sletten Cancer Institute, contributed to the Benefis Emergency Department expansion and remodel, along with the Gift of Life Housing program.
In all, the Leroy Strand Estate has contributed $1,326,315 to the Benefis Health System Foundation.
Strand passed away in 2016, and his ranch and cattle were transferred to a private foundation that aims to benefit students and charities.
His estate has also made contributions to Geyser School and its students. According to Tanara Martin, over $200,000 in scholarships have been awarded because of Strand’s generosity.
“He was a very good person and a very shrewd businessman,” Tony Martin said.
A quiet, shrewd businessman who himself did not have kids or a college education but dedicated his whole life to those exact two things.
Because of the Strand Scholarship, Geyser Schools has put in place a dynamic measuring system, which gives their high school graduates an opportunity to earn scholarship funds towards any advanced education of their choosing.
According to his obituary, in 1944, Leroy entered into a partnership with his parents and brother in purchasing a cattle ranch near Geyser. He became the sole owner of the Strand Ranch in 1964.
Leroy operated and managed the ranch until 1998 when he leased the ranch and cattle to Tony and Tanara Martin.
Leroy continued to live on the ranch and remained an active partner, friend, and advisor to the Martins.
Reporting by Keeley Van Middendorp for MTN News