Leonard T. England, 98 years old, a lifelong resident of Germfask, Michigan peacefully passed on November 28, 2020 surrounded by his loving family, secure in the blessed assurance of eternal life provided by his Savior, Christ Jesus.
Born in 1922 to parents Fredrick and Kathleen (Cornell) England, Leonard grew up on the England homestead and his early years were filled with typical farm chores, riding his pony Bobby, farming with horse-driven equipment, community thrashing ‘Bee’s’, and a ‘Barn Raising’ for his family after a windstorm destroyed their barn.
Leonard graduated from Manistique High School in 1940, then spent a year working at the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Germfask, followed by a move to Dearborn to work at Romulus Army Air Corps base. During World War II, he was stationed at multiple U.S. air bases; however, it was when he was transferred to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for advanced training that his life took a pivotal turn. This was where Mary Ruth Parsons, a red-headed co-ed, coaxed him into the Conga Line at a USO dance.
Leonard was discharged home to Germfask following the end of WWII and resumed farming with his dad, having convinced him to try the new Ford Ferguson tractor. He also recommended to the Germfask School Board that they consider Miss Parsons from Alabama for a recent vacancy. Their approval paved the way for her to move from the deep South to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Leonard and Ruth married in 1949 at the Manistique Presbyterian Church. Ruth taught at Germfask school while Leonard continued to farm and trap to supplement their income. He was appointed USPS Postmaster for Germfask in 1955 and continued to raise Shorthorn beef cattle. Later, when their family was blessed with three daughters - Susan, Nancy and Rebecca - Leonard added registered Morgan horses and spent many summer weekends traveling to horse shows and parades.
After a long, courageous bout with breast cancer, Ruth passed on in October 1976. Leonard retired from the Post Office in 1981, and married Elsie (Smith) Holbrook that December. Leonard and Elsie enjoyed many years of square dancing, traveling, casino visits, and life as snowbirds in Harlingen, Texas. Elsie passed away in December 2012.
During his later years, Leonard loved to tell stories, reflecting on his life experiences including living with his folks during winter timber harvesting at Camp 24 on Blaney Park, dislocating his wrist when the Model T Ford crank start back-fired, shooting the machine guns while in the lower ball turret of the B-17 and B-29’s, and hiking all over Seney Wildlife refuge as he trapped mink, beaver and muskrat. He was an avid fisherman, and loved to go with his son-in-law, Terry McLaren, to their secret honey-holes along the Fox River. An adventurer to the end, Leonard’s final months involved rides in the “side by side” to tour the property and check out various wildlife on the game cams.
Leonard is survived by his daughters, Susan (Paul) Blake, Nancy Kingsbury, and Rebecca (Terry) McLaren; Grandsons Alex (Meghan) Blake, Robby McLaren, Granddaughters Becky Blake, Megan McLaren, and Katey (Jeff) Hearth, and great-grandson Andrew Blake; Nephews, Archie (Joyce) and Gary (Georgia) Musselman; Step-daughters Grace (Neil) Paris, Gloria (Jim) Hartzog, and Barb (Joseph) LeComte; Step-son Earl Holbrook; Leonard was pre-deceased by his sister, Harriett (Herb) Musselman, and Step-daughter Carol (and James) Alexander.
A memorial service at the Germfask Methodist church and graveside ceremony at Riverside Cemetary will be delayed until May or June 2021. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in memory of Leonard to the Germfask Methodist church.
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