TRAVERSE CITY — Leland Eugene Niemi, 65, of Traverse City and formerly of the Detroit Downriver area, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Leland was born on Sept. 2, 1947, to Eino and Bertha (Nurkkala) Niemi in Highland Park.
He grew up in North Trenton, attending and graduating from Riverview Community High School, where he met is future wife at the age 15. On Oct. 19, 1968, Lee entered into marriage with the former Agnes Zahorchak at St. Cyprian Catholic Church in Riverview.
He proudly served his country as a member of the United States Army, 56th EOD.
Lee made his living working with the Ford Motor Company, retired in 2004 and headed north to Traverse City.
He maintained a close connection to the Upper Peninsula and his family roots there, visiting often as a child and now returning to spend quality time with his grandchildren. Lee enjoyed the outdoors and all nature had to offer and spent time deer hunting.
He found a rewarding position spending time working with kids at the Career Tech Center and was able to build some wonderful relationships with the students as well as friendships with the rest of the staff.
Lee was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and will be missed by so very many.
Leland is survived by his wife of over 44 years, Agnes Niemi, of Traverse City; his mother, Bertha Niemi, of Trout Creek; his two sons, Brian Niemi, of Trenton, and Kevin (Belinda) Niemi, of California; four grandchildren, Jocelyn, Vaughn, Monica and David; sisters, Cheryl (David) Meszaros and Cecelia Brandes; three nieces and nephews; many great-nieces and nephews; and other loving family members and friends.
Leland was preceded in death by his father, Eino Niemi.
Per Lee's wishes, cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be at noon, with visitation one hour prior, on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. The Deacon Rene Hoenscheid will officiate. A memorial Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will also be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be directed to University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, care of the UMHS Office of Medical Development, 1000 Oakbrook, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.
Please share your thoughts with the family at www.reynolds-jonkhff.com.
The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.