At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Lawton Lions Club
646 North Nursery Street
Lawton, MI 49065
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Life Story / Obituary
A longtime resident of the Lawton community, Leonard Hill was the sort of person who seemed to know everybody. He was hardworking and generous as he was willing to help others in whatever way he could. A devoted family man, Leonard treasured the family he shared with the love of his life, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include the grandchildren and great-grandchildren he adored. Social and outgoing, he was a genuine friend who spent countless hours volunteering his time within his community. Deeply loved, Leonard will never be forgotten.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Often recalled as the Roaring Twenties, innovation bought us things like washing machines, refrigerators, and radios that all transformed the way we lived our everyday lives. On February 27, 1927 Leonard James Hill was born in St. Johns. His parents, Donald and Florence Hill raised Leonard and his brother, Donald on the family farm in Okemos. Leonard was a young boy of his generation. He attended local schools including Okemos High School. After graduating from high school, he went on to graduate from Michigan State with a degree in agriculture and later earned his master’s degree in animal husbandry.
Not to be forgotten during his years in college was Leonard’s introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Jeanne Manby, and they soon started dating. With a desire to establish a life together, Len and Jeanne were married in her hometown of Battle Creek on July 24, 1947. It wasn’t long after that the couple learned they were expecting. Together they welcomed four children including Chris, Deborah, Mark, and Emily into their hearts and home. In the 1950s, they moved to the Lawton area.
With a desire to provide for his family, Len worked several jobs. His first job out of college was as the 4-H extension agent for Berrien County. Len was a strong supporter of AG and 4-H throughout his life as he truly enjoyed helping the kids and always enjoyed the county fair himself. The bulk of his career was spent working as the regional sales manager for Martin-Marietta. Since his territory covered everything West of the Mississippi, he frequently traveled and flew a lot. Not only did Len work this job, but he also sold real estate in the Lawton area. Jeanne later joined him once their children were grown, and over the years he helped many people. Len retired in the 1980s.
Throughout his life Len was fully dedicated to his family. Many memories were made at their cottage up North on Otsego Lake in Gaylord. Every year during the summer they packed all the kids up in the station wagon and headed there for a couple weeks of family fun. Len was the one to take pictures, and he also made a big pancake breakfast every Sunday before heading off to church.
A resident of Lawton for the majority of his life, Len was active within his community. He was elected as the township supervisor for Antwerp Township for a term and enjoyed serving. A member of the Lawton Lions Club, he volunteered countless hours on the Lawton Community Center remodeling project. Len was also active with St. Paul’s United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday school and also took on any other job that was needed. Special events were celebrated at La Cantina Restaurant in Paw Paw, and he was very social with his friends. For years there were regular dinner parties as well as summer boating trips. During their retirement years, Len and his wife wintered in Key Largo, Florida, and in 2010 they moved there permanently in order to be closer to their daughter as she dealt with their declining health. During his younger years he enjoyed hunting and fishing, followed the Detroit Tigers and the Michigan State Spartans, and liked big band music.
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Leonard Hill made a significant impact in the lives of those around him. He was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, his focus was on loving his family and serving others. Len was kindhearted and compassionate with a spirit of generosity that was unmatched. Although he will be missed, he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
Leonard Hill died on Saturday, March 19, 2016, at Paradise ALS of Cutler Bay, Florida. Len’s family includes his wife, Jeanne; 2 daughters: Deborah (Gary) Cherubini and Emily (Tim) Beattie; 2 sons: Chris (Gema) Hill and Mark Hill; 7 grandchildren: Matthew Hill, Michael Hill, Cameron Beattie, Devon Beattie, Anelise Cherubini, Christopher Cherubini and Jimena Hill; 3 great grandchildren: Cowen, Britten and Weston; and his brother, Donald Hill. Services will be held at 11 AM on Friday, April 15, 2016 at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler & Thompson; 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (269-657-3870). A reception will immediately follow at the Lawton Community Center. Please visit Len’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Lawton Lions Club or the Alzheimer’s Association.