Leo Hallan, age 58, of Yankton, South Dakota, died Thursday, December 4, 2014 at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton.
Memorial services are 2:00 PM, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with Reverend Dani Jo Ninke officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the memorial service.
Leo was born on March 21, 1956 in Huron, South Dakota to Archie and Ruth (Berg) Hallan. He grew up in Iroquois, South Dakota where he graduated from high school in 1974. Leo then worked for a construction company in Iroquois until his motorcycle accident in 1976. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury and became a quadriplegic. Leo devoted the rest of his life pursuing a cure, but more importantly becoming an advocate for all those who were disabled. He became politically involved and was instrumental in getting laws passed to improve the lives of those with a disability. After his accident, he lived in Sioux Falls for three years and then in Pierre for three years. Leo helped get a law passed through the state legislature that allowed him to live at home, so then he moved to Iroquois in 1982. Leo was the mayor of Iroquois for four years and was influential in restoring Iroquois Lake through grants and fund-raising efforts. He loved hunting, fishing and the outdoors, so restoring Iroquois Lake was very important. In 1994, Leo moved to Yankton. Throughout his life, he was a small business entrepreneur and most recently was the owner of Ruth's Campers in Yankton. Leo enjoyed fixing up old cars and researching his family history. He also had a passion for helping and mentoring kids through tough times and was active in Big Friend, Little Friend.
Leo is survived by two children, Jessie (Tiffani) Hallan of Leesburg, VA and Kris (Nicole) Hallan of Grain Valley, MO; four grandchildren: Noah and Evoli Hallan of Leesburg and Alexis and Aryana Hallan of Grain Valley; nine brothers and sisters: Gerri (Dennis) Aughenbaugh of Iroquois, Sylvia Lee of Mitchell, SD, Donnie (Sue) Hallan of Sioux Falls, Archie (Donna) Hallan of Iroquois, Linda Hallan of Mitchell, Bruce Hallan of Rutland, SD, Wayne (Julie) Hallan of Brookings, SD, David Hallan of Iroquois and Brian (Nina) Hallan of New Braunfels, TX; and many nieces and nephews.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents; son, Travis Hallan; and brother, Keith Hallan.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation at www.christopherreeve.org.
Messages will be reviewed and posted within 1 business day.
Leo was a great friend to me and we had kept in contact over the years. I am very saddened to hear of this news today! Rest in peace and run a marathon up there :)
I will never forget what an awesome and amazing person Leo was. He never judged people and was always smiling! An awesome person to have in your corner. He was a life time friend, even though I haven't seen him in years, In my heart he always was there. Love you Leo! Run wild brother!
I first came to virtually meet Leo by e-mail. We had a mutual friend named Rusty. We're all disabled. Somehow Rusty's e-mail went wild and I had the delightful prospect of Leo Hallan lamenting, "I just want them to call me ScooterTrash one more time!"
I also met him in real life. What a fierce, wise, and hard-working advocate! A good friend that took me on my own terms.
He was brave. He once went to China for a spinal cord treatment. People have no concept of how dangerous that was. Just a plane ride of that distance, for a disabled man, is running a risk. He was from Yankton SD and going to CHINA! Not a movie star with an entourage to simplify things, Leo had to do things completely differently. Necessity is indeed a mother, and he coped with the situations as they arose. While he was there, he looked for ways to make a difference in China. He was going back the 2nd time when he received the message his son had gone missing.
Leo and I both lost kids too young. He handled that loss with such grace.
We used to meet in DC, for Working 2 Walk rallies and seminars and the occasional White House protest. Leo was an absolute master of that type of event! I can still see him instructing my son..."Make a sign that says 'Scientists Have Morals Too!'" They had an Aussie helping too. The whole sign crew's gone now, but Heaven inherited a great posse.
You know the saying, "Play the cards you're dealt"? Leo was the BEST at that. Plus, he was always a gentleman. I like to think he's canoeing with Travis, and his body is again a blessing instead of a burden. We are really going to miss him. May you all feel serenity, and may Leo RIP.
Leo was amazing. He was generous, kind and always quick with a smile. I'm so glad I got to see him when I was back in Yankton at Thanksgiving. We had a lot of laughs. He will be deeply missed. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. He's running with the angels now.
Kim (Savage) Dickson
Our deepest sympathy to Leo's family. What a strong man he was. I hope he's dancing with Angels now, standing tall!
Bruce and Rose Carstens
Leo was a great man!!!
I having a disability myself, Stroke, he really inspired me. Leo's great smile and FANTASTIC attitude was great. So glad I went and saw him 2 weeks ago and saw him a couple of times this summer. He even made it down to Hobie Beach which was great, this summer. I will deeply miss him. He is the one that gave me the nickname Kat. Which I use in my e-mail address.
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