BENZONIA — Lester T. Bair, 79, of Benzonia, died Nov. 11, 2013, at Munson Medical Center. He was born in Pleasanton Township on March 31, 1934, the son of Philip and Ruby (Reed) Bair.
Les grew up on a farm in Pleasanton and learned to love working and developing the land, though he was never too fond of farm animals. As an adult, long after leaving the farm, he continued this love by developing and maintaining his property – turning bare earth and hills into something beautiful. With this he also developed another love of his, his love for wildlife, especially birds, and he continually created and built more complex bird feeders to draw them near.
Les gained a love of tools from his father; Les told stories of his dad making his own tools and having a wonderful workshop. Les built up his own workshop and loved to show his grandkids how to build things and get them interested in tools.
Les never spoke ill of anyone; he “never knew a stranger” – he would put new acquaintances immediately at ease. He was great with young kids – his grandkids found a great friend in him, and his children learned how to be good with kids and be confident parents. He loved telling stories about his family and spending time with them. And, he loved to laugh and to make people laugh.
He is survived by wife, Ilse E.; sons, Brian, of Alabama, Mark (Denise), of Benzonia, and Michael (Susan), of Oregon; daughters, Debra Wakefield, of Lake Ann, and Leslie (Andy) Battjes, of Indiana; 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brothers, Carroll (Sandra), of Bear Lake, and Stephen (Elaine), of Interlochen; sisters, Marjorie (Neil) Smith, of Muskegon, and Diane (Richard) Vanderley, of Grawn.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at St. Philips Episcopal Church, with the Rev. Harold Skip Comer officiating. The Bair family will receive friends at the church from 1 p.m. until the time of the service.
Arrangements are by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Frankfort and Benzonia.