At the age of 91, Theodore I. Leben passed away peacefully Sept. 27, 2010 in Austin, Texas.

At the age of 91, Theodore I. Leben passed away peacefully Sept. 27, 2010 in Austin, Texas. He was born to Sam and Libby Gootkin Leben on May 24 1919, in El Dorado. He was their third of five children. His siblings were Harold Leben of blessed memory, Jimmy Leben of blessed memory who died as an infant in the flu epidemic of 1918, younger twin brother and sister, Archie of blessed memory and Cissy Kotkins who lives in Portland, Oregon.

At the young age of 6, Ted was a violinist. By the time he was 13 he helped support his family during the Depression by giving violin lessons. He sat first chair in the El Dorado High School Orchestra as well as first chair in the Kansas Youth Symphony, two accomplishments that he was very proud of.

When Ted was only 19, his father was killed in an automobile accident in Kechi, Kan. Ted came back home from Seattle to take over his father’s small watch repair business and help raise his very young sister and brother.

Ted was married to his beautiful bride of 66 years, Aileen June Boucher in 1944 during the war while he was serving in the Army Air Corps. They were married in Sioux Falls, S.D. Not a day went by that he didn’t tell her how much he loved and adored her. She was to the very end his most devout inspiration in life and love.  

After the war they came back to El Dorado to raise their four children and continue to work in the jewelry business until the mid 1950s.  He moved the family to Wichita. Ted got the bug for the oil and gas industry, and the rest was history. He sold his three jewelry stores and bought one rotary drilling rig and created Leben Drilling, Inc.  Over the next 40 years he built his company into very successful and respected drilling, oil and gas exploration company.

Ted was an active philanthropist and believed strongly in supporting his community. He served as president for Congregation Emanu-El for two terms, president of Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation for two terms, chair of Israel Bonds, a co-founder of National Council of Christian and Jews; Wichita Chapter, regional president of Hebrew Union Congregations, a longstanding member of Kiwanis, 33rd Degree Mason, and inducted into Kansas Oil Museum Hall of Fame.

Ted is survived by his wife Aileen Leben; their four children: Sue Ann Shefman of Georgetown, Texas, Teena Jean Slatkin and Buddy Slatkin of Denver, Colo., Lecia Lea Sud and Jim Sud of Austin, Texas, and David Gregory Leben of Wichita; grandchildren, Shana and Corby Logue, Daucie and Marc Schindler, and Leana Shefman, Daniel and Alyson Slatkin, Ari, Jonathan, and Cassie Slatkin, Robert, Adam, and Jewel Sud, Libby and Lara Leben; and great-grandchildren, Lincoln, Darwin and Wolfgang Schindler, and Aidan and Scarlett Logue.

He will be missed by his family and friends who will carry him in their hearts now and forever. He will live on in all the hearts that remember him.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 455 Sherman Street, Suite 500, Denver, CO 80203-4405, (303-815-1669) or Congregation Emanu-El Building Fund, 7011 E. Central, Wichita, KS 67206-1920, (316-684-5148).

Graveside Services will be conducted at half past three o’clock on Tuesday, the 28th day of September, 2010 at Agudas Achim of Austin Memorial Park.
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