Lester "Junior" W. Cleland, 85, of New Riegel, passed away Wednesday morning, March 13, 2013, in the emergency room at Blanchard Valley Hospital, Findlay.
He was born Oct. 10, 1927, in New Riegel, to Elester and Gladys (Hastings) Cleland. He married Velma Stone May 19, 1951, in Bascom, and she survives.
Also surviving are three children, Carol E. Cleland of Fostoria, Daniel A. (Carolyn Pennington) Cleland of McCutchenville and Cynthia A. (Gregory) Hughes of Alvada; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren with two expected in May.
He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Douglas L. Cleland in 1989; sister, Lavina Brown; an infant brother; and a great-granddaughter, Kory Elizabeth Sherwood in 2012.
He was born and raised in the same home he raised his family and enjoyed retirement in. He was raised by his father and nanny, Christina Fry, after the passing of his mother and brother at childbirth. Junior was a lifetime farmer who raised chickens and sold eggs for 35 years while also working at General Electric, where he met his wife. He later retired as a security guard at American Standard and Hayes Albion.
Lester graduated from Hopewell-Loudon in 1946 and served in the United States Army, having been deployed to Japan. He was a lifetime member of Union United Church of Christ, Bascom, and a member of Loyal Order of the Moose No. 846, V.F.W. Post No. 2858, both in Tiffin, and American Legion Post No. 354, New Riegel.
Lester never met a person he would not strike up a conversation with by asking "Where are your from?" He was very proud of his children and grandchildren and enjoyed following his grandchildren in their activities. He was still talking about farming the day before his passing; always making sure things were in order.
His funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 16, 2013, at Union United Church of Christ, Bascom, with Pastor Tress Hodkinson officiating. Burial will follow at Sandridge Cemetery, Bascom, with military honors being conducted by the United Veterans Council
Friends may visit with the family 4-8 p.m. today, March 15, at Hoffmann-Gottfried-Mack Funeral Home & Crematory, 236 S. Washington St., Tiffin, OH 44883, (419) 447-2424 and 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Union United Church of Christ, Bascom, or to the New Riegel or Bascom EMS.
Letters of condolence may be sent and the guestbook signed at www.hgmackfuneralhome.com.