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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Leonard E. Lesperance

Leonard E. Lesperance, 94, of Two Rivers, passed away early Tuesday morning, July 15 at Northland Lodge in Two Rivers.

Born Dec 2, 1919 in Coleman, to George and Mary (Parenski) Lesperance, he grew up on the family farm in Pound. He attended Lincoln High School in Meriden, Conn. in his freshman and sophomore years and finished at Coleman High School.

One of his biggest thrills was to tell the story how Willie Pep, an American professional boxer and one of the best fighters of the 20th century, befriended him as a young man in Connecticut and asked if he would carry his bags into the boxing ring. He joined the Army in September 1943 and was sent to Hoff, Germany on March 4, 1944 during World War II. He was then assigned to the infantry and saw action in several European communities.

  With his love of baseball, he tried out for the Unicorn Free Press Army baseball team and was the starting catcher, playing with many major league players on the team. When he returned from Germany in March 1946, he settled in Coleman and wanting to be a farmer, he built silos and earned a diploma in Mechanics School. In addition, he worked in northern Wisconsin with the CCC.

In 1947, he moved to Two Rivers and worked at Aluminum Goods. He met Sylvia Grimm and her three young boys and worked on her farm. They married Oct. 25, 1953 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Town of Two Rivers and helped raise the three boys. In 1956, they had a daughter.

His interest in baseball continued and in 1950, following a meeting with Howie Timm, Woody Guetschow, and the Manitowoc County Baseball League president, he paid the franchise fee to help form the Two Rivers Cubs as a league entry. He briefly was a catcher, but his farm work prevented him from dedicating full time as a player. In the 1960’s after Two Rivers had the Polar Bears as the second entry in the county league, he briefly coached the Two Rivers Cubs. Just one week ago, he was the guest of honor at a Two Rivers Polar Bears home game played at Walsh Field.

He enjoyed sports and playing them with his children. After retiring from farming, they moved to Two Rivers in 1972 and he still enjoyed working outdoors. He worked for Lakeside Canning Company from 1978 to 1992 as a field foreman.

He is survived by his wife, Sylvia of 60 years; step-sons, Bill (Maryan) Grimm, Carmel Valley, Ca., Jim Grimm, who runs the family farm in Two Rivers; a daughter, Ann Lesperance and husband Kelly Morris, in Bainbridge Island, Wa.; three step-grandchildren; two grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Dorothy Stodola, Kewaunee, Lorraine Hetue, Oconto Falls, Bernice (John) Goetz, Oconto, Joyce (Ralph) Seewald and Violet Kowalczyk, both of Lena, Betty Jane Lesperance, Peshtigo, Bernard (Pat) Lesperance, Coleman, , Marie Boulanger, Two Rivers, Carol (Lyle) Ausloos and Marlene Kortbein, both of Menomonee Falls and Janice (Gale) Wogsland, Pound.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a step-son, John Grimm; brothers, Lester, Clement and Francis; sisters, Shirley and Joan and 52 nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held on Monday, July 21 at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church, Two Rivers, with burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Two Rivers.

Deja & Martin Funeral Chapels of Two Rivers assisted the family with arrangements.




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