Leo Richard Cech was born on May 16, 1927 to Paul and Irene (Chihos) Cech on the Iron Range where his father was working. When he was 6 months old, his parents moved to the farm that became his in Iona township outside Browerville. Leo graduated from Browerville High School in 1944, then farmed with his parents until their retirement. Leo and his father did a lot of custom work in the county. In summer Leo left home at first light and returned after dark for supper. Leo loved big machinery and continued to drive tractors for his renters long after he retired from farming. Later in life, Leo moved to an apartment in Browerville, but he continued to visit his farm where he fed his adopted cats and watched deer, his “Bambi.”
Although Leo lived his whole life in Browerville, as a young man he traveled to Mexico and the West with friends. He was optimistic and unafraid of change. Many in Todd County came to know Leo through the store he started and owned for over 30 years, the Todd County Implement Company, also called ITCO and Todd County Farm Supply. The store was located where the current Browerville Fire Hall Community Center now stands. Leo was a community-minded businessman who enjoyed investing in the dreams of his friends and in the stock market, where he did well.
After he retired, Leo became a serious fishman and took many adventurous trips with friends to Canada and northern Minnesota. He also collected and restored small antique tractors, which he loved to drive in Browerville Days parades.
Leo never married, but he was a beloved brother to his older sister, Alice, and much loved by his nieces and nephew. Most people who knew Leo will remember his wonderful sense of humor and kind-hearted teasing. In his later years, Leo often talked about how fortunate he was to have so many friends in Browerville who looked out for him.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Alice Paulson. Leo is survived by his nephew, Marc (Kay) Paulson of Brooklyn Center and nieces, Deborah Paulson (William Baker) of Durango, Colorado and Gail (Roger) Harrison of Isle.
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