John “Jack” Norman Leevers of Leevers Supermarkets Inc. died at his home in Mesa, Arizona, on Jan. 22.
Mr. Leevers, was born on July 25, 1942, to Norm and Marge Leevers as the oldest of four children in Devils Lake, North Dakota. With the opening of Norm’s IGA store and the founding of Colorado-based Leevers Supermarkets Inc., Mr. Leevers was raised in the family business, bagging potatoes as early as 10 years old. The markets have embraced numerous store formats and names over the years, from Leevers Foods to Colorado Ranch Market and Save-A-Lot. Today, the chain owns 20 stores and is the only employee-owned grocery chain in Colorado.
In his high school days, Mr. Leevers played hockey and supported his mother and father in the grocery business. In 1960 at the age of 17, he graduated from Central High School in Devils Lake and immediately entered the Navy, where he served for three years.
Upon returning from his service, Mr. Leevers enrolled at the University of North Dakota, where he picked up right where he left off—going to school and returning home to help in his father’s stores. It was during this time that he met his wife, Sharon. The Leevers celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2018.
Along with his brother Bob, who joined Leevers Supermarkets in 1975, Mr. Leevers kept adding stores in North Dakota until 1984, opening nine stores before expanding to Pueblo, Colorado, with the largest volume county market in the country.
Mr. Leevers’ two sons, John and Chris, followed in his footsteps in supporting the family business, and recently his grandchildren have joined the business as well.
“Jack has always lived a life by his rules and timing, with successes and honors, though possibly, of his proudest moment is when his oldest grandchildren joined the company in 2018,” wrote Mr. Leevers’ family in his obituary. “He would say, four generations of Leevers, how proud his father Norm would be if he could see this family today.”
For more than 20 years, Mr. Leevers served on many boards, donating his time to the Hockey Booster Club, Ramsey Bank Board, North Dakota Grocers Association and the Presbyterian Church board, among other. He was named Grocer of the Year in North Dakota in 1989.
Following his retirement, Mr. Leevers and Sharon spent 20 years doing the things they enjoyed most—horseback riding, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Mr. Leevers is survived by his wife; sons John (Tania) and Chris (Carren); daughter Antena (Miles); grandchildren Taylor, Alexis (Martin), Kayla (Nick), Lachlan, Marin, Spencer, Ella, Tatum, Gately and Jack; and great granddaughter Naomi.