TRAVERSE CITY — Jon Erich “Big Jon” Sleder, 69, of Traverse City, passed away on Jan. 19, 2014, in Ypsilanti, where he was living for the winter with his daughter. Jon was born on Oct. 5, 1944, to the late Erich and Jean (Paton) Sleder.
As a young man Jon spent most of his free time at his grandparents farm, where he raised Angus beef cattle and showed them at the State Fair. He won Grand Champion ribbons for the cattle he showed. Jon also worked at the family meat market, Sleder’s Meats, delivering groceries.
While attending Traverse City High School Jon played varsity football and graduated in 1963. Jon then went to Michigan State University Turf Management School.
After graduation Jon worked at different golf courses and construction companies before becoming the grounds superintendent at Elmbrook Golf Course. Jon had an interest in seeding and was considered an expert for all of the courses he worked for across the state. He also worked for Caverly Golf Course Construction. During the winter months Jon plowed snow at Grand Traverse Auto. Jon then started his own business, J&E Seeding Inc. He also worked at Bahle Farms of Suttons Bay during the construction of the course. Jon was instrumental in reconstructing the baseball field at Traverse City Christian School, the soccer field at Miles Kimberly park in Maple City and the Kingsley High School football field.
On June 30, 1974, Jon and the late Carol (Kolorik) Sleder had their pride and joy, Rebekah “Becky” Rose. Becky was involved in 4-H, where Jon was her leader and helped her show beef cattle at the Northwestern Michigan Fair.
In his spare time Jon enjoyed farming. He was a huge fan of Michigan State football and basketball. He really enjoyed spending time with his uncle, dad and daughter when he had the chance to see them. Jon also enjoyed going out to the fair, of which he was a lifetime member, and seeing the 4-H projects, especially the beef cattle. Driving all across the county to visit friends and take in the sights was another highlight of Jon’s life.