Leland Thompson, Jr.

We at the Foundation are saddened to learn of the death of our good friend, supporter and champion of liberty.
Leland and his family moved to New Mexico from Midland,
TX around 1960. He had been a wildcatter in the Permian
Basin, an activity in which George H.W. Bush had also been
active, and they were (and remained) close friends. In
fact, Leland gave George W. Bush his first ride in a small
He was a first-rate businessman, and a valued director in a
number of New Mexico companies. He was also a wise
investor in real estate, owning outright or with others
in partnership perhaps 25,000 acres of undeveloped land
on the outskirts of Santa Fe. One such investment, Rancho
Viejo, is now home to Santa Fe Community College as the
result of an outright donation of its campus lands by Leland
and his partners. The Institute of American Indian Arts and
a large Catholic church have similarly located on land donated
by the Rancho Viejo Partnership.
Leland was also a founder of Santa Fe Preparatory School,
the premier independent school (grades 7-12) in Santa Fe,
and involved in a major way assisting establishment of
the Santa Fe campus of St. John’s College.
His widow is Evaline (nee Rife), and they have five grown
children. Three are married daughters with children who
live out-of-state. One is a son, Warren, who is married
with (I believe) two sons, is now chairman of the Santa Fe
Preparatory School board and is respected in the Santa Fe
business community. Another son lives in Taos.