Leah Marylyn Whitefield, 80, of Elmwood Twp., passed away Thursday, March 28, 2013, at her home surrounded by her loving family.
Leah was born on June 19, 1932, in Detroit, the daughter of Earle and Elsie (Souder) Clarke. On Oct. 12, 1950, in Redford Twp. she married George R. Whitefield, who survives.
While living in Detroit, the countless memorable summers spent on Lake Leelanau with family eventually convinced George and Leah to make Leelanau County their home.
Along with her father, Leah and George were responsible for the development of the Pony of America Club in Michigan. Her love for 4-H in Wayne County followed her to Leelanau County, and inspired many youth to grow and learn through the 4-H program. Leah’s dedication and passion for 4-H motivated her to organize the Michigan 4-H Youth Horse Bowl program, for which she recently received honors from MSU.
Leah was an instructor and Master Designer for Stretch and Sew, and also served as a Program Director for ARC. Leah’s passion for genealogy resulted in the organization of annual Clarke and Wolvin family reunions.
Leah was well respected and loved by many. In her later years, health issues limited her activities significantly. Regardless of her health-related challenges, Leah endured with an unyielding will.
Her grandchildren brought her infinite joy, and her love for them was her greatest priority. Her grandchildren loved and adored her dearly; referring to her as the “Best Grandma ever.”
Her family shares endless fond memories of time spent together at “The Cottage” on Lake Leelanau. The values she personified and examples she set will endure without end. She will be profoundly missed by many.
The family wishes to express its gratefulness to Munson Medical Center and Northern Michigan Hospice for their help.
In addition to her husband of 62 years, Leah is survived by her children, Linda (Richard) Smith, Rebecca (Michael) Flees, Wayne Whitefield, and Beth Ann (Donald) Szilagyi; siblings, Wayne (Marion) Clarke, Gerald (Esther) Clarke, Randall (Carol) Clarke, Judith (Ivan) Kevelin, Gladah (Larry) Keeney, and Dan (Nancy) Clarke; 16 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, also at the funeral home. Greg Harger and Jenny Connelly will officiate. Burial will take place at a later date at Suttons Bay Township Cemetery.
Memorials may be directed to the Leelanau Co. 4-H, 8527 E. Government Center Drive, Ste. 107, Suttons Bay, MI 49682. Please share thoughts and memories with Leah’s family on their online guestbook at www.record-eagle.com/obituaries/
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.