February 19, 1977 - January 16, 2023
Nathan A. Leikip, 45, formerly of Sheridan, Wyo., died Monday, January 16, 2023, at his home in Overland Park, Kan. 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, Wis. He was adopted by his parents, Daniel J. Leikip (deceased) and Beth M. Leikip-Manthei in Merrill, Wis., 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 on 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, Colo. 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 horse-back 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 step-father 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.
His funeral and 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.