For Larry Leschber ’72 and his wife, Pam, finding the joy in life, even in times of difficulty, is what drives them.
The husband-and-wife team is the third generation to own and operate their 1,000-acre corn and wheat farm outside of Hutto, in Williamson County. Growing up in a farming family, Larry knew this was his destiny even before he attended Texas A&M University. For Pam, who grew up in the Pasadena and Deer Park area, that wasn’t exactly the case.
“I’ve been farming my whole life,” said Larry. “I was on the farm before I came to Texas A&M, and after school went back to work with my dad full time and took over when he passed. We were blessed to be able to build up our acreage while he was alive.”
“I come from a legacy of teachers,” said Pam. “I originally went to school for music and eventually switched to teaching.”
She taught for 10 years and was a substitute teacher for an additional 14 years after that before joining Larry on the farm full time.
The couple met on a blind date arranged by mutual friends and immediately hit it off. Two weeks later, Larry proposed. However, because of the teaching contract Pam had just signed, they couldn’t marry as soon as they wanted. But 48 years, two children and seven grandchildren later, the rest is history.
An Aggie legacy
Larry studied agronomy in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. While Pam isn’t a graduate of the university, she soon became immersed in the Aggie culture and helped Larry pass that love on to their children, Christopher Leschber ’97 and Patricia “Trish” Leschber ’21.
Christopher graduated with a degree in agricultural development from the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. And Trish “officially” joined the Aggie network a little later in life by becoming a nurse practitioner through Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
Numerous other family members, friends, children of friends and more have attended Texas A&M, and the Leschbers said they also hope to share the Aggie legacy with their grandchildren one day.
While passing that legacy on through their family is special to them, they aren’t content with just that. The Leschbers want to pass it on to others by helping current and future students find their joy at Texas A&M, as Larry did.
“The College has a real family atmosphere to it. You immediately feel like you’re a part of a family when you get in,” said Larry. “We want to make it easier for more students to be part of that family.”
“I can remember going to an Aggie Muster event in Hutto one year, and Murray Milford, Ph.D., one of my most difficult professors, was the speaker,” said Larry. “I went up to him afterward, having been out of school for more than 20 years, and he remembered me. He also remembered my son and brother taking his course as well.”
He added that while the university and classes are big, they are not so big as to keep faculty from making time to get to know their students and enhance that family feeling.
Sharing their joy
With true hearts for giving, the Leschbers began giving back to the College by joining the College of Agriculture Development Council more than 20 years ago. They credit their friends, Bob Avant ’75 and his wife, Sharon, for initially getting them involved in the group.
“In agriculture, the Aggie connection in Texas is alive and well,” said Larry. “We keep the maroon tight.”
He said so much has come out of the College that benefits production agriculture, it’s only fitting for them to give back.
“From the seed breeders, weed scientists, soil scientists, you name it, they’ve helped improve our production through the research they’re doing here, and we’d like to help the students going into those fields,” said Larry. “The next major development could come from one of them.”
Not people to sit idly by when they have the opportunity and ability to help others, the Leschbers recently decided to up their giving by establishing an endowed scholarship in their grandson’s memory.
“We’ve been fairly lucky in our agriculture career,” said Larry. “You have some good years and some rough years, but most of ours have been pretty good, and some were even better than average.”
Farming in Central Texas has its challenges. Larry said their area is growing rapidly but not agriculturally. With more people moving to the area, it is quickly becoming more urban. As a result, the Leschbers have been forced into some unexpected land sales due to the growth.
With this unplanned income, the couple helped their children as much as they could but found they still had money left over.
Larry said he had been considering an endowed scholarship for quite a while.
“I thought, if we can do this, we can really help several students,” he said.
Pam felt the same.
“As a former teacher, I’ve always been interested in scholarships and wanted to be part of them,” said Pam. “Scholarships helped me help my parents when I was in school. I know how great an impact they can have on a student and their family.”
Establishing the Ezra “Ezzy” Leschber Memorial Endowed Scholarship
With this opportunity in front of them, the Leschbers thought it was only fitting to establish an endowed scholarship in honor of their grandson, Ezra “Ezzy” Leschber, whom they lost at a young age.
According to Pam, Ezzy was a little spitfire. He was bright, joyful and full of spunk.
“That was a very difficult period in our lives; without the Lord, none of us would have made it,” she said. “He was just different, and I think God made him different that way so that he would make an impact on others. That’s why Larry and I have wanted to create a scholarship that would help students and also let his name live on. This way, Ezzy can continue to make an impact.”
“Ezzy was our sixth grandchild, and they’re all a little different,” said Larry. “I don’t think any of them would have been involved in agriculture except Ezzy. He might have been my farmer. You can tell pretty young if kids are interested in agriculture, and I think he might have been.”
“He loved wearing boots, no matter the outfit he had on,” said Pam.
The Leschbers said Ezzy’s budding interest in agriculture is one of the many reasons they specifically chose to give back to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“This way, we can help students in his honor, and his memory will continue to live on,” said Larry.
Ever generous, the Leschbers have also given to The Gardens at Texas A&M University in honor of Larry’s mother, who was an avid gardener. They are already planning for additional gifts of bricks to The Gardens in recognition of their grandchildren.
“We really enjoy The Gardens, and the whole family loves plants,” said Pam. “The love of plants and nature generally runs in the family.”
The Leschbers also donated to the Howard Hesby Student Atrium in the Kleberg Animal and Food Sciences building. This area offers a space for students to meet, study and relax between classes.
Due to their unwavering generosity, the Leschbers are now Texas A&M Legacy Society members. Established by the Texas A&M Foundation, this society recognizes donors whose cumulative giving totals $100,000 or more.
But they don’t do it for the recognition.
“God has been good to us,” said Pam. “We can honor him by following his teachings and help others by giving back because that’s what the Lord tells us to do.”
Leading by example
The Leschbers have fond memories of Texas A&M and the College. According to Pam, they have found a lot of joy there and continue to find more with each new experience. From the family atmosphere to the faculty members who remember who you are, even 20 years later, there’s nothing else quite like it.
“There’s just something special about this place,” said Pam. “There’s no denying you’re family here. There is just a spirit.”
To learn more about contributing to specific programs or establishing an endowment like the Leschbers, contact the Texas A&M Foundation at 979-845-0856.
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that exists for the benefit of Texas A&M University. The Foundation works with former students, corporations and other Texas A&M supporters to match their charitable interests with the university’s priorities. Gifts create scholarships, advance faculty endeavors, enhance student programs and fund new buildings, ultimately creating a brighter future for Texas A&M, one relationship at a time.