Leroy Petri

Ranch Engineer

In Memory of Leroy Petri–December 19, 1945 to January 4, 2021

The global pandemic has hit home. Our community at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve is heartbroken to share the tragic news that we’ve lost our friend, mentor, and restoration hero Leroy Petri. Leroy died from COVID-19. Leroy, known throughout central Texas for his kindness, his integrity, and his dedication to hard work, passed away Monday, January 4 in Fredericksburg, Texas. He was 75 years old.

Leroy was responsible for executing many conservation projects on Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve and was renowned for his ability to create any infrastructure a landowner might need. J. David Bamberger describes himself as the architect of Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and Leroy as the engineer. Leroy began working with J. David, founder and visionary of Selah, about a year after J. David purchased the land in 1969. J. David has described the ranch as “the worst kept piece of land in Blanco County.” Through the combined dedication and hard work of J. David and Leroy, Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve now serves as an international model of habitat restoration and private land stewardship.

On a lighter note, Leroy will be remembered by all as the “Dam Aggie.” J. David has collaborated with a number of graduates of Texas A&M over the years. Other members of the Bamberger Ranch Preserve team include Buddy Francis, who J. David dubbed the “Cow Aggie.” Randy Lenz is known as the “Deer Aggie.” Jim Rhoades, a forester, is more widely known as the “Tree Aggie.” Leroy never set foot at Texas A&M University but was lovingly referred to as the “Dam Aggie” because of his unmatched talent for building infrastructure to help manage and conserve water resources on the Bamberger Ranch Preserve and throughout Blanco and surrounding counties.

Leroy was also a veteran of the U.S. Army and served his country for two years in Vietnam. He is survived by his brother Ernest Petri, Jr. and his wife Nora and his sister-in-law Judy Petri. He is also survived by nieces and nephews Lydia Pool and husband Ricky, Stephen Petri and wife Julie, Mathew Petri and wife Katy, Fred Krauser, Sharon Sewell, Alan Petri, Cecil Petri. Leroy is also survived by many great nieces and great nephews.

Leroy was highly respected by his colleagues and friends at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, who will miss him dearly.

“On January 4, I lost a friend of fifty years and Selah lost one of its founders, taken too soon by Covid-19. Leroy was the most unforgettable man I've ever known. He was well-known and well-respected all around Blanco County. His absence here has saddened the staff who learned so much from him and enjoyed being with him. Leroy’s mark is on so many things here at Bamberger Ranch, and he will be remembered by us all for the quality mark he left on everything he touched.”

J. David Bamberger


Selah Bamberger Ranch Preserve

“Leroy was an integral part of the history of Bamberger Ranch Preserve. His contributions for over fifty years are immeasurable. He was a loyal friend and ambassador. He was a wise consultant and genuine steward. He was skillful, talented and industrious and above all in the truest sense, he was a man of integrity. The world would be a better place with a few more Leroy Petris roaming around. Selah has lost a cherished family member and the Hill Country a dear friend. He will be missed by us all.”

Rusty Yates

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

“Leroy’s insightful vision for landscape management, particularly when it came to water resources, is unparalleled in terms of contributions to the preserve. His careful consideration of conservation and management of the spring water on the preserve laid the foundation for the education and outreach focused on land stewardship that is such a critical aspect of our mission. The staff at Selah and the landowners and visitors we interact with will benefit from the contributions Leroy made in our programs for many years to come.”

April Sansom

Executive Director

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

“It was a treasure to work with Leroy for more than 21 years. During that time, I witnessed Leroy going from resisting teaching our landowner workshops to quietly relishing the role of sharing his knowledge. He would tell these groups of new land owners made up largely of doctors and lawyers, ‘I see a lot of expensive cars out there in the parking lot, all of which depreciated the second you drove off the lot. And it doesn’t really matter if you do any improvements to them, it’s still depreciated. But making improvements to your land always appreciates its value.’ Then he would start showing them how. Almost instantly, you could see the crowd gravitate to this man with his simple honesty and integrity with soil and grease under his nails. They knew they were in the presence of a treasure, the “real deal”. There are many lands - and lives - that appreciated in value because of Leroy Petri. Like so many, I loved and will miss him more than I can say.”

Colleen Gardner

Former Executive Director

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

“I learned so much from Leroy and will miss him so much. I will dearly miss those early morning phone calls, when Leroy would always ask, before anything else, ‘How’s the wife doing?’ I could always count on a phone call when it rained. He would always tell me that ‘the cypress trees are sapping up all the water like straws!’ Leroy was meticulous about equipment maintenance, and taught me the lesson that ‘You gotta keep things greased up!’”

Steven Fulton

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

“Leroy was quite simply salt-of-the earth. He was the very definition of a down-home, southern gentleman. He always greeted me with a smile, followed quickly by a complaint about something we did wrong or a story about what he would have done differently. His hands and footprints are on everything you see at Selah. This place would not exist if not for Mr. Petri. Leroy's gentle presence and vigorous spirit will always be with us. Legends never die, they live forever in memories, stories and thoughts. I will cherish the memories Leroy helped me create in the past and especially those his legacy and his hands will help create in the future.”

Jared Holmes

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

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