Leo was born in Otsego Township and lived in Plainwell his entire life. After graduation from Plainwell High School, Leo worked in the fruit cannery and the Marathon gas station before landing a job at Plainwell Paper. He worked at the mill until it closed, doing different jobs in the production department and in the maintenance shop. Before retirement, he’d been working as an accomplished Millwright. Work at the paper mill was demanding, with many different shifts and lots of overtime. He commuted daily by foot from his family’s home on Hicks Avenue; a 6-block walk. He really treasured his walks and always had a friendly “hello” for those he encountered along the way.
Leo and Nancy married at an early age. The day after the ceremony, Leo reported for his shift at the mill. Shortly after marriage they started their family with their daughter Lisa, followed by Mark a couple years later. Leo was a dedicated provider for them all.
A favorite family outing was taking the kids out for pizza. But not just any old pizza. When Leo returned home at 11 after his late evening shift, he and Nancy would wake their kids, load them into the car, and drive to Kalamazoo. They’d pick up a pizza from Bruno’s and enjoy it in Bronson Park at midnight to the sounds of the park’s water fountain.
Leo was known for his friendly and cheerful demeanor and his easy laugh. He loved chatting with all people, from children to seniors, and everyone in between. When Nancy’s mom was in the nursing home, all the residents would look forward to Leo’s visits because he’d sneak hard candies to those that could have them. He also believed that it was his duty to donate blood and he became a multi-gallon donor over the course of his life.
Though he started walking as his commute to work, Leo’s walking grew into a daily ritual and became the framework for the rest of his days. He frequented the loop by Dean’s Ice Cream and out through the industrial park and always returned with stories to tell.
Over the years Leo and Nancy have enjoyed visiting their children and grandchildren, as they’ve moved around the country and the world. Lisa became a nurse and moved from the U.P. to Virginia to Massachusetts before settling in the Richland area. Mark graduated from Western Michigan University and eventually relocated to Thailand where he resides today.
Leo and Nancy have visited each of these places to be with their loved ones. Leo was a great sport with his grandkids. He was happy to have tea parties or to get on the floor and wrestle. He taught his grandkids how to shuffle cards and spent many holidays playing Kings in the Corner, “Nosey,” and Rummikub. Whenever someone suggested a game, he’d respond with “You tryna get beat?!” with a twinkle in his eye.
When Leo and Nancy’s traveling days subsided, they often gathered with friends over a campfire for some food and camaraderie. They also enjoyed walks and card games shared with friends, as well as daily coffee at the local Burger King.
Leo’s passing has left a tremendous hole in our hearts, but we take comfort knowing he’s in a place filled with light, peace, and tranquility. Leo is survived by his wife of 59 years Nancy (Addington); daughter, Lisa (Tom) Shannon, of Richland, MI; son, Mark Moran, of Thailand; grandchildren Jonathon Shannon, of Portland, OR; Kathleen Shannon of Carbondale, CO; Keegan Shannon, of Philadelphia, PA; and Marca Moran, of Thailand. He is also survived by his siblings John Moran, of Plainwell; David Moran, of Kalamazoo; and Calvin Moran, of Otsego.
We hope to see you at his visitation or the funeral service where we will be face masked and hand sanitized to provide a safe place for our beloved seniors. We will provide face masks at the door, but please bring your own if you’re able.
Visitation for Leo will be Wednesday, July 15, from 4-6pm at McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, 120 S. Woodhams, Plainwell, MI 49080 and service Thursday, July 16, at 11 am at the same location. For further details please visit Leo’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com. Family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Home, Marshall - Gren Chapel. (269-685-5881).