Monday, April 25, 2016

Godspeed, Leonard Case

Leonard Leach Case Jr., 84, of Beulah, Michigan passed away on Saturday, April 16, 2016. He was born to Leonard Leach Case and Florence Ellis Case on July 13, 1931. He called Benzie County home for his entire life. Leonard graduated Benzonia High School in 1949 before attending Michigan State College where he attained a degree in Business. He worked nights at General Motors in Lansing to pay for his schooling. Leonard entered the U.S. Army in 1954 and served two years active duty in Korea in the quartermaster corps. He was honorably discharged in 1962 with the rank of specialist 4th class.

Most of Leonard’s professional career was spent overseeing the iconic Cherry Hut Restaurant in Beulah where he worked 69 years, 56 of them as the proprietor. In 1946 Leonard, then a high school sophomore, was hired to work at the Cherry Hut Jam Kitchen and since 1948, with the exception of two years in the army, has personally prepared the delicious jams and jellies of the Cherry Hut. In 1959, after two years as manager, Leonard purchased the Cherry Hut from the founding family, The Krakers. During his time as owner, Leonard transformed the Cherry Hut from an outdoor food stop with a limited menu only open for 12 weeks in the summer months to a modern three dining room restaurant with a full menu of entrees, sandwiches, and salads which is open Mother’s Day until the end of October. Leonard worked hard his entire life and that continued through The Cherry Hut’s 93rd season in 2015.

Leonard wintered in Orlando, Florida during the Cherry Hut’s off-season. While there, he became fond of the handmade sweets of Carolyn Candies. Looking to stay busy in Florida, he purchased the candy business, which made and distributed pecan rolls and pralines, in 1967 and owned it until 1972. Leonard hired a manager to oversee the slower summer months while he was away in Beulah running the Cherry Hut. He would then resume operations upon return to Orlando in the winter. Leonard also developed a passion for flying and took pilot training at a small airport south of Orlando in Kissimmee. After attaining his private pilot’s license in 1969, he purchased a small single engine plane, a Cessna 150, and flew it between Kissimmee and Benzie County.

In 1972, Leonard married his wife of 44 years, Brenda Joy Deering. They were married at the Benzonia Congregational Church UCC, where five generations of the Case Family have been members since its founding in 1860. In 1976, a son, Andrew James Case was born and in 1980, a daughter, Amanda Joy Case.

Leonard was an avid world traveler. His adventures brought him to the Terracotta Army of China, the Pyramids of Giza, the beauty of the Danube River, the treasures of the Kremlin, and the battlefields of Normandy among other numerous historical sites. However, out of all his many travels he settled on two favorites, The Grand Canyon and sunsets on Crystal Lake. Leonard was a prolific reader of historical nonfiction. He spent countless hours reading books on American History and the places he had traveled to or wished to travel to. He was most passionate about WWII, The Civil War, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the discovery of the American Western Frontier. Leonard enjoyed swimming in Crystal Lake, boating, golfing, and always looked forward to a good game of cribbage. When he wasn’t traveling or reading you would find Leonard at the Cherry Hut or spending quality time with his family, which was the greatest importance to him.

Leonard is survived by his wife, Brenda Case, son, Andrew (Christy) Case, daughter, Amanda (Ashley) Williford. Grandchildren, Carson Leonard Case, Caleb James Case, and Zachariah Wray Williford. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, June Deering, brothers-in-law, Norman (Barb) Deering, Edwin Deering, and several cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard Case, Sr. and Florence Case, Brother, William (Lorayne) Case, and sister, Marietta (Sherman) Nelson.

The visitation to celebrate the life of Leonard will be from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 13 at the Jowett Family Funeral Home in Benzonia. The memorial will be held on Saturday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the Benzonia Congregational Church, UCC. Dr. Chuck Guerreno will be officiating. Memorial contributions may be directed to The First Congregation Church of Benzonia, 901 Barber St. Benzonia, MI 49616

No comments: