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Livin' out here on "The Leelanau". They paid their last respects to Harry today.

Today I attended the funeral service for Harry. He was one of the old boys. He was a link to times gone by, and he lived in Leelanau County...."The Leelanau" was not his home.

Harry was not an book educated guy. He left school at a very young age, and went to work. It was rumored that he couldn't read or write. He joined the US Navy during WWII, and put himself in harms way to save his ship. He never said much about it, but it took 41 years before he was awarded a medal for his heroism.

He came back to his small hometown after the war, and as so many veterans did, he settled in. He married and had a family. No, he might not have been able to read or write much, but he could anylyze what it would cost to do something, and he could then figure out the price to charge for the many services he performed. Among other things, he was a builder, a heavy equipment operator, a mover of buildings and a honey wagon operator. He once owned a hardware store and a lumber yard. As a retirement project, he built and ran a bowling alley.

Today, the wind was howling and the snow was blowing, and Harry's service was held at the local fire station. He wasn't a church going man, although he did a lot of churchly deeds for people. He didn't want his service held at a church.

He also didn't want any "preachin', singin' or hymns". They did play the Navy Hymn, though. Several of his grandkids gave eulogies. It was a brief service, and it was jammed with people, and many of those people came from the far reaches of the county. Over the years, Harry had served on many boards and committees, and knew a lot of people.

I didn't see many of the more recent arrivals to our county at Harry's service. His family aside, it was a mostly older crowd there. Harry's cremated remains will be laid to rest this coming spring, in our local cemetary.

Leelanau County honored a good man today, a man whose mostly unsung deeds in life helped pave the way for "The Leelanau" to flourish.

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Comment by CWO3ROBBIE on December 29, 2009 at 3:58pm
Gary, I recently drove through the cemetary where my Parents and Grandparents are buried. It is a nice cemetary. It is in a very rural area that is much more so now than it was in the 40's and 50's. While wandering around in there it was like going back for a visit to my childhood. There are many relitavies there and many of my Parents and Grandparents friends. People who used to tease me and make over me when I was little, give me candy and when I got a little older chewing tobacco and snuff. People who my parents would drag me along to visit. So many memories flooded in; it was like I had gone back in time.
Out of 72 years, I actually lived there on and off for a total of about 7. But I inherited the family farm and my Mother lived there until she died. I spent many summers there and have been going back for my entire life. There is so much human history in those cemetaries. Your writing brought all this back.
Comment by Kittycat on December 28, 2009 at 2:10pm
Thank you Gary for sharing with us. Harry sounds as if he were a special person who was loved by many.

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