Tuesday, May 9, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Known to be quite a character and sometimes even a bit of a smartass with his sense of humor, Leon made up for it all with his generosity and love. In his 96 years of life, he lived each day looking forward to the next - especially if it involved fishing. Even so, it is hard to say goodbye to such a good soul.
The 1920’s marked a time in history during which Americans were relieved from World War I and were looking to spark the excitement life could potentially offer again. New styles in clothing, music, and entertainment were broadly explored. Prohibition was in full effect, and bootleggers were busy while many citizens frequented speakeasies to quench their thirst. In 1921, America’s favorite pastime of baseball made the news with Babe Ruth’s career home run record break of 138 - a record he held for nearly forty years. Also in baseball news, the Chicago White Sox baseball team was accused of throwing off the World Series. The scientific historic figure, Albert Einstein, received the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Closer to home, in Plainwell, Michigan, Herman and Lila (Phelps) Kenyon were preparing to meet their second son. Leon was born on April 6, 1921. Before too long, Leon became a big brother to three siblings. With five children, Herman and Lila never had a dull moment in their home. To support his family, Herman worked in the Plainwell lumber company and did some side work at the meat market, the police and fire departments. When Lila had a free moment, she would sometimes take on a few clothes ironing jobs to earn a little extra money.
Leon spent his childhood playing with his siblings while making many great memories. While in high school, he was quite a basketball star and was fondly called "Goose" by his friends. Eventually, he graduated from Plainwell High School with the class of 1940. About this time, he attended a local festival where fate introduced him to the love of his life. Her name was Juanita Weaver, and Leon was so head over heels for her, he had difficulty walking along side her on the sidewalks. He was a bit shy around girls, but something about Juanita made his bashful side even more pronounced. After graduation, he enrolled in the Army, and it was not long after meeting Juanita that he was called off to war. The couple wrote letters to one another and through words and time, it was evident that they were in love. Leon came home on furlough, and on September 14, 1945, wedding bells rang at the Congregational Church in Otsego.
Following his honorable discharge, the newlyweds started their life together. Once they settled in, they decided to start a family. They welcomed two children into their lives, Susan and Sally. He and Juanita were very loving parents, and the family celebrated many happy times together.
To help support his family, Leon worked as a lineman for Michigan Bell for over 40 years! Though he was dedicated to his work, he also enjoyed many activities outside of the workplace. He looked forward to his annual fishing trips to Canada, as fishing was one of his absolute favorite past times. On vacation, Leon would make it out on Gun Lake three times a day before the sunset to cast his line in the water! He spent many quiet hours making his own lures and fishing poles for summer and ice fishing in the winter. When he was in the mood for spicing things up, he would often turn on Big Band music. During the holiday season, Leon would relish Christmas when he could spend time with his loved ones and celebrate the festivities.
As for community involvement, Leon spent his fair share. He was the president of the Plainwell Chamber of Commerce, served on the City of Plainwell Council, and was also a member of Michigan Jaycees. Leon was never a person to talk about someone in a negative way, so it was fitting for him to serve in these community positions.
After Susan and Sally matured to find adult lives and love of their own, Leon and Juanita began to enjoy time for themselves again. They joined a self-proclaimed senior travel group called "Shangri-La". The two loved to travel with the members of the group. And then, they were given the news of becoming grandparents. They joyfully welcomed the blessing of their granddaughter, Ashley.
Leon celebrated over 65 years of marriage with Juanita before she became ill with Alzheimer’s. He was forced to endure the loss of his wife in 2012, but with the support of his family and friends, he found the goodness in life again. Leon lived an amazing 96 years of life on this Earth. On Saturday, May 6, 2017, he passed away peacefully in his Plainwell home.
Leon's quick wit and laughter will be dearly missed. We will hold the memories we shared with him close to our hearts and admire the long life he enjoyed. Leon H. Kenyon will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his two daughters: Susan (Hassan) Kaakani, of MN and Sally (Steve) Laws, of Otsego; one granddaughter: Ashley Oglesbee, of GA; adopted son: Shaun (Alan) Frederick, of NC; sister: Shirley Van Buskirk, of Portage; brother-in-law: Bob Arehart, of Plainwell; sister-in-law: Joyce Rex, of Otsego.
A special thanks to Stacie Sutherland, our family's caregiver, who is more of a member of the family.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Juanita; siblings: Al Kenyon, Eva June Arehart, and Marshall Kenyon.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 4 to 7pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, 120 S. Woodhams, Plainwell (269-685-5881). The funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 11AM, at the same location. Burial at Hillside Cemetery.
Those who wish may make contributions to the Wings of Hope Hospice and/or Wings Home.