Leslie Eugene Whitford, age 80 of Ashley, MI died Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Ashley
Care Center surrounded by his family. Funeral services will be held at Bethel Mennonite Church, Ashley, MI on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. with Pastor Zella Daniel officiating. The family will receive friends and relatives at Keck-Coleman Funeral Home, St. Johns on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 2-4 and 6-8 P.M.
Leslie was born in Ashley, Mi on March 11, 1939 the first born son of Gene and Dorothy (Slagell) Whitford. He graduated from Ashley High School with the class of 1957 and studied agriculture at Michigan State University. On December 29, 1957 he married Marilyn Joyce Camburn and they raised three children on the farm near Ashley. Marilyn preceded him in death on April 29, 2013 after 55 years of marriage. Leslie worked at MMPA in Ovid for several years then Federal Mogul in St. Johns for 8 years on the midnight shift while farming and milking cows and running Whitford Wrecker Service which he started in the late 60's and continued to present. He also did backhoe work, installing septic systems, drain fields and any projects that involved digging. He sat on several boards, including Washington Township as Clerk, Gratiot County Board of Commissioners, and Gratiot County Road Commission. He was a past member of the Ashley Lions Club, and Volunteer for the Ashley Fire Department. He was proud to host training sessions for the Ashley Fire and Rescue, providing wrecked cars for the Jaws of Life and rescue program. He always wanted to help people.
Leslie was a member of the Bethel Mennonite Church, and also enjoyed attending the Pompeii U.M. Church and Chapin U.M. Church and East Washington U.B. Church.
Leslie will be remembered for playing guitar and singing with family and friends, attending music jams all over Michigan and the UP. Never left his guitar home when traveling. He and Marilyn hosted the "Whitford Jam" for many years on their farm near Ashley where many came to camp for the weekend and enjoy great fellowship with Gospel and Bluegrass music, great food and hospitality. He will also be remembered for his fun loving pranks, playing jokes and picking on the people he loved. In recent years he truly enjoyed spending time with his special friend, Kathy Vandeusen. He is survived by his children, daughter, Luanne Billings (Jim Dershem) sons, Eugene "Jose" (Brenda) Whitford, and Kelly Whitford all of Ashley, MI. Grandchildren, Matt Whitford, Sarah and Tony Siecinski, Rachel Billings, Ryan Billings. 4 Great grandchildren, Hannah, Garrett, Addyson and Peyton and a great grandson due in August. Also sister, Barbara Elaine (Gene) Slagel of Midland and brother Eldon (Ann) Whitford of Reed City and sister in laws, Judy Whitford of St. Johns, Lois Emery of Ashley Margaret Saylor of Okemos, and many special nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn, Parents in 2016, Brother Gary in 2014. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Charity of the Donor's Choice, or consider the American Diabetes Association or any of the churches mentioned.