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Leslie Willard Austin, of Grand Haven, passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2015 on his 93rd birthday. The son of Harold & Letha (Kelly) Austin, he was born June 25, 1922 in Watervliet.

The Great Depression was soon upon the Austin family, and the parents reported that one year Les and his brother Norman received a joint Christmas gift of a pair of ice skates and took turns skating all day.

In the 5th grade Les received the surprise transition of having to learn left-handed penmanship when his right hand became inoperable from a severe cut to his tendon. A genetic disorder affected his eyesight and later he would be declared legally blind.

Les’s son, Dan was born on New Year’s Day, 1952. The family lived in Holland, where Les, refusing to go on disability, was employed by Chris Craft and Bohn Aluminum. In 1957 they relocated to Grand Haven where he was employed by Bastian Blessing until his retirement.

In 1968 Les married Dora Groeneveld, who in 2000 preceded him in death. They were members of Seventh-Day Adventist Church where he regularly walked to the supermarket to shop for other residents unable to get out, while keeping the snow and ice cleaned off the cars for those who could. In 1994 he received Pinewood’s “Resident of the Year” framed award.

Other hobbies included gardening and his love for children. He loved to laugh and tell jokes and was friendly with everyone. Three times a week he would have breakfast at Jeanne’s Cafe.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and three siblings, Norman, Arlis and Carol Joyce (infant). Surviving are a son, Dan Austin; stepdaughters, Janet (Roger) Lankheet of Fennville, Cheryl (Ralph) Swanson of Grand Haven, and Gloria (Buck) Gilbert of Sparta; stepsons, Glen (Diane) Groeneveld of Grand Haven and Roger Groeneveld-Austin of Tennessee; along with several grandchildren; great grand-children; great great grand-children; nieces and nephews.

Les’s family extends heartfelt gratitude for his compassionate care by the staffs of Hospice and Sanctuary at the Shore, where he expired. Les’s cremains have joined Dora’s at the Pine Wood Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date in Grand Haven, at Seventh-day Adventist Church.


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2 Condolences

  1. Jeremy and Diane Potter on June 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

    May God Be with you in your time of need and with God’s blessing may one day be with all of us again.

  2. Sally haldeman on August 5, 2015 at 3:30 am

    I am sorry to find out that uncle les is gone.i last talked to him when my mother Arlis passed.i would like to hear some family members

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