February 19, 1977 – January 16, 2023
Nathan A. Leikip, age 45, formerly of Sheridan, Wyo., died on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, at his home in Overland Park, Kan. After a 19 year battle with PTSD and physical pain from injuries sustained during his tour of service with the US Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Even though Nathan took his own life, he was a baptized child of God, and now he is in the arms of his resurrected Savior and is free from pain. He is healthy, happy and whole.
Nathan, whose name means “Gift from God,” was born on 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. After 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 United States Navy where he served aboard the submarine USS Rhode Island from 1996 to 2000. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he was forced to enlist in the United States 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 returned to Iraq. Two weeks later, in February 2004, the vehicle in which he was traveling struck an IED. Nathan sustained injuries from that attack; however, the other two soldiers in the vehicle were killed. He was awarded 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 served our country passionately and was a true patriot.
After his discharge, he attended the police academy in Trinidad, Colorado 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 moving to Kansas City to be close to family.
Nathan actively hunted, fished, and camped in the Big Horn Mountains and Colorado. In Kansas, he enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, restoring classic 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 her half-brother, Jon Manthei. He is survived by Sheridan’s mother and stepfather, 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 ready to help in times of need. Rough around the edges, he had a heart of gold and an incredible smile and laughter 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 shortly.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Nathan’s memory to the 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 reach out to their members of Congress and ask them to pursue better mental health care for our returning combat veterans.