Passed Away On: 2017-01-23 00:00:00
Leslie “Les” Franklin Sans, 70, passed away on January 23, 2017, in a tragic accident on the family ranch. Les was born in King City, California on March 14, 1946 to Jerry and Phyllis Sans. He was raised on the beautiful Sans Topo Ranch in the Topo Valley/Bitterwater area. He attended Bitterwater Tully School and King City High School, graduating with the class of 1964. He went on to attend Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, where he participated on the college rodeo team.
Growing up on a cattle and dryland farming ranch, he learned the meaning of hard work and loving the land at a very young age. Life on the ranch was always an adventure and passion for Les. He truly loved the Sans Topo Ranch. The hot summers were spent harvesting barley with his uncle, John Maggini, his brother, Paul, and his friend, Chris Davis. There his loving mother Phyllis, whom he adored, delivered to them hot meals in the field each day, even when the temperature rose to 110°. He loved his sister Sandy and spent many hours playing with her in the ditch behind the house and roping with her at Bolado Park.
Hunting was always a favorite pastime, especially deer season with hunts on Red Mountain with his uncle and namesake Les Eade. Les Eade would pack them into Red Mountain on horseback. He also enjoyed hunting the home ranch, Rock Springs Ranch and parts of New Mexico. In high school, Les loved sports and was quite an athlete. He played on the 1962 King City high school football team that won the championship and was inducted into the KCHS Hall of Fame. He also lettered in Baseball. He liked to team rope and rodeo.
After returning home from college, Les worked for Frank (Mickey) Hearne at L.A. Hearne Co. Les went on to become a pilot and crop duster, first working for Wayne Handley at Crop Flight and then operating his own crop dusting business, Valley Dusters. Les was blessed with agility and quick reflexes that served him well as a crop duster. Les enjoyed flying, totally addicted to the rush of adrenaline achieved while dusting the beautiful patchwork of the Salinas Valley.
After his crop dusting days were finished, Les returned to the operation of the ranch along with beginning a bulldozer operation. He spent much of his time raising his children on the ranch and taking them to their various horse shows and rodeos. He was a wonderful father to his children, always making sure that their needs were met, whether that be a college education or a new horse. He loved his kids and was always so proud of their achievements.
In his later years, Les reveled in watching the grandchildren play sports and rodeo. He attended most every game played from T-Ball all the way to college football and basketball games and rodeos throughout the state. He was always there to cheer on his grandkids. On Sundays, he enjoyed watching Nascar races with Becky Doty. He rooted for the 49ers through good times and bad. He thoroughly enjoyed road trips to New Mexico and visiting with his daughter, Jerilynn, while there.
He is survived by his children Sami Jo (Gregg) Johnsen of King City, Todd (Wendy) Sans of Bitterwater, and Jerilynn Sans of Albuquerque, NM; his grandchildren Rory & Jo Ellen Johnsen and Sierra Jo, Todd, Jr. & Brody Sans. He is also survived by his sister Sandra (George) Rose of Hollister, his brother Paul (SanDee) Sans of Yerington, NV, niece Tammy Rose of Bitterwater, and nephew Ken Rose of Hollister. From Bitterwater, he is survived by his uncle John (Darlene) Maggini, girlfriend Becky Doty, cousin Mike Shields, and Lisa Smith (not a sister by blood, but his sister just the same) and brother-in-law, Nessen Schmidt. Les lived his life to the fullest and on his own terms; you always knew where you stood with Les Sans.
A celebration of life will be held at the Rock Springs Ranch on February 10th at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the King City Community Scholarships – Todd Daines Memorial, PO Box 226, King City, CA 93930 or Mustang Bench, PO Box 410, King City, CA 93930 or Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919.
Celebration of Life
Friday, February 10, 2017
Rock Springs Ranch Lodge
11000 Old Hernandez Rd
Get Directions on Google Maps
Photo provided by Averi Regan. Thank you, Averi!