Leland E. Seba was born December 12, 1928, in Dallas, TX, and died on November 15, 2021 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He grew up on a small, family-owned horse and cattle farm in Northwest Oklahoma. He graduated from high school in 1945 in Leedey, OK. He attended the University of Oklahoma, then completed his degree at Harper College in Palantine, IL. While in Chicago, he completed a Dale Carnegie course and was elected President of the class. Leland also attended the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada in Reno, where he was certified in administrative procedures and mediation. Leland also attended the New York Jockey Club School for Racing Officials, where he was certified as a Steward.
Leland was recruited to be and became Arkansas’ State Steward at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas; and served in the off-season as a Steward in Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Leland was widely recognized and sought after for his sound judgement, vast experience, and acute sense of justice. Always looked upon by his contemporaries as a leader, Leland served on important committees of various divisions of the Horseman’s Benevolent Protection Association and the United Thoroughbred Trainers Guild.
Before becoming a Steward, Leland had a successful career training thoroughbreds for public stables of C.B. & Ross McNeil, W.R. Kelley, Sam Laser, Marvin Warner, Jack Davis, W.O. Bridge, H. H. Weaver and others. He trained a number of stakes winners, including The Nutts, Jontilla, Merry Lady II, Galamar, Cute Kiss, Miss Dipper, Dixafilly, Marpoise, Pet Me, and Good Bird.
Leland retired in 2001, after more than 50 years in thoroughbred horse racing. He and his late wife developed their 80 acre homestead into a 32-lot, upscale residential community near Lakeside School called Fairplay Estates.
Leland was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. W.E. and Mary Seba, his brother Bill Seba, his wife of 57 years, Dixie Lee Matlock Seba, his son, Stanley Seba and his daughter, Sondra Seba Hemenway. Survivors include his son, Brian Michael (Maria Elena) Seba; his grandsons, Ryan Blalock-Seba (Melissa) and Ian Seba; his son-in-law, James Hemenway; special friend, Joyce Ellis; and other nieces and nephews.
Leland’s remains will be cremated and inurned at the Columbarium of the First United Methodist Church of Hot Springs. A celebration of Leland’s life will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 27, 2021 at Caruth-Hale Funeral Home. Pastor David Wilson will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army, First United Methodist Church, or Hospice HomeCare.
The family would also like to thank Hospice Home- Care, especially Christine and Tommy for their support and kindness. Online guest register is www.caruth-hale.com.