TRAVERSE CITY — Edward Joseph Flees, 91, of Traverse City, passed away on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at Munson Hospice House, surrounded by his loving family.
Born April 27, 1921, Leelanau County, Ed was the oldest of seven children to Frank and Elizabeth (Rice) Flees. On Aug. 3, 1940, he married Mary Jean Zeits at St. Mary Parish, Lake Leelanau.
Ed worked a lifetime in the construction trades as a very skilled stone, brick and block mason. He will be remembered for his beautiful stone masonry and expert craftsmanship, which has left lasting impressions on all the families and businesses touched by his work. He retired as a Building Inspector for Elmwood Township, Leelanau County.
Ed proudly served as a longtime Fourth Degree Knight and Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus Council 1213 and served as a longtime usher for St. Francis Church.
Ed was known in Traverse City as “The Accordion Man.” He was recognized throughout the region for his musical talents, great collection of accordions and concertinas, and his ability to fix instruments in need of repair. He and his bands entertained the community for nearly five decades, playing music for weddings, anniversaries, nightclubs and nursing homes. Ed, his son, Mike, and their band, The Escapades, were featured on the Pleva’s Meats National Cherry Festival Parade float for nearly three decades. They were well recognized as a local favorite during each parade, encouraging the crowd to dance and enjoy the festivities.
Ed was very proud of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Entertaining and playing with them brought him much joy. He loved to hunt, fish and watch sports, especially Detroit Tigers baseball. He enjoyed playing his accordion for everyone who visited and loved sharing his knowledge of music.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth (Rice) and Frank Flees; one son, Earl James Flees; one sister, Elizabeth; and two brothers, Jack and Robert.
Ed is survived by his wife of 72 years, Mary Jean, of Traverse City; daughters, Elaine Williams (Richard) Vanhill, of Hudsonville, and Marilyn Hlavka Domine, of Maple City; daughter-in-law, Sue Flees, of Traverse City; son, Michael (Rebecca) Flees, of Traverse City; seven grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; sisters, Winifred Rombaugh and Otillia Garvin (Tom Meokes); brother, LaVern (Marion) Flees; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will take place on Sunday, April 21, 2013, from 4 to 8 p.m., with the rosary recited at 7 p.m., at the Traverse City Chapel of Covell Funeral Homes. A funeral Mass officiated by the Rev. James Gardiner will be held on Monday, April 22, 2013, at St. Francis Church, with visitation at 2 p.m. and service at 3 p.m.
For the loving care and warmth provided to Ed and his family, memorials may be directed to Munson Hospice House.
Arrangements are being handled by Covell Funeral Home.