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Biography

Luther F. Lessard, age 69, long-time Greenville Public Schools teacher, passed away Sunday afternoon, November 27, 2011 at Metron of Cedar Springs. The son of Rapheal Joseph & Doris C.A. (Foster) Lessard, he was born on December 21, 1941 in Ludington. Following high school, Luther served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Northampton and after his honorable discharge from active duty continued to serve in U.S. Naval Reserve until 1983.

On August 28, 1965, in Ludington, he married the former Mary Evelyn Olmstead. Mr. Lessard earned his teaching degree from Ferris State University and then taught in the business studies department at Greenville High School until retiring in 1991. He was a life member of the Greenville Optimist Club, was an active member of Spencer Mills Orthodox Presbyterian Church, in previous years had been very active with the Boy Scouts of America, and had been a member of the American Legion. Following retirement, he “went back to sea” working as a steward aboard the S.S. Badger.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Dawn Marie Howard on November 1, 2009; a half-brother, Bob Lessard; and a half-sister, Dolly Durham.

Surviving are his wife of 46 years, Mary Lessard; their children, Faye & David Kyser of Cedar Springs, Stephen & Lillian Lessard of Toldeo, Ohio, and Charles Lessard of Carson City; nine grandchildren; one great grandson; two brothers, Joe & Gail Lessard of Indiana, Ronald & Lisa Lessard of North Carolina; a half-sister, Pat Rimmer of Arizona; his father-in-law, Elwyn Olmstead of Ludington; siblings-in-law, Duane Olmstead, Betty Shull, Raymond Gustafson, Polly Oliver, and Bruce & Betty Thompson; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation is Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. at the Christiansen Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 511 S. Franklin Street, Greenville, where envelopes for memorial contributions for the Food Pantry at Spencer Mills Church will be available or feel free to bring canned good to the church to donate directly.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at Spencer Mills Church, 12710 17 Mile Road off of Lincoln Lake Avenue, Gowen, with Pastor Alan Flowers officiating. Military honors, rendered by the United States Navy, will conclude the ceremonies and burial will take place privately in Spencer Mills Cemetery.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Mr. Lessard’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: www.ChristiansenCares.com

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous on November 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

    john Callaghan

    the friend next door you will always be because you are family to me.

    10/09/2014

    Jim Nichols

    Sorry I am just now posting this message. Your dad was great. I had him for business in high school class of 1978. Mr. Lessard got me to go to davenport college of business and after graduating from there I went on to st Thomas of a Aquinas I. Grand Rapids, MI
    I live in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Ca. Luther taught students to be entrapunures not just students.
    I own a successful real estate investment corporation and own many multi unit apartment buildings in Southern California.
    I never knew so much about l
    Luther until reading his memorial on line.
    I was listening to a 1979 song about the Edmund Fitzgerald and thought of Luther.

    Jim Nichols

    07/27/2013

    Dawn (Golden) Edsall

    Mary and family
    I can remember many dinners at the Lessard table with laughter. Luther was always quick with a silly joke sure to make you laugh he will not be forgotten. Thanks for making the girl across the street feel at home for alot of years.
    God Bless and keep you
    lots of love
    Dawn

    12/11/2011

    Tina McLoud Bush

    All my best to one of the best teacher.

    12/11/2011

    Donna Baardsen

    Dear Mary,

    I am shocked, and so sorry about Luther, for your sudden loss, which was in the Ludington Daily News yesterday.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Your’s and Luther’ many kindnesses are always warmly thought of, and remembered with thankfulness.

    When you feel up to it, please be in touch somehow.

    Much Love to You and Yours,
    Donna

    12/01/2011

    Lisa Hibbard

    What a great man.. He was the Dad I did not have. There a wonderful Family, god has bless me to have them in my life…. I love you Dad…
    Love always, Lisa Lampshade…

    12/01/2011

    Don and Julie Momber

    Dear Mary and Family,
    We are so sorry for your loss of Luther. We always appreciated his tolerance and patience with having a “houseful of kids” (ours included). Please know that we are thinking of you.

    Don and Julie Momber

    11/30/2011

    Ellen Schroeder

    Dear Aunt Mary , Faye and David, Steve and Lil, Chuck,
    I am sending thoughts and prayers for you all in this time of sorrow.
    My Deepest Sympathy
    Ellen

    11/30/2011

    Mick & Jeanne Bellinger

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family during your time of loss.
    Mick & Jeanne Bellinger

    11/30/2011

    Barb & Kirk Perry

    Dear Mary, Faye, Steve, and Families, We were sad to hear of Luther’s passing. We have many great and fun memories of him and all of you! May you be comforted in the knowledge that he is in a much better place and you will see him again.
    Love and Prayers,
    Barb & Kirk

    11/30/2011

    Chris and Marsha Papadakos

    Your Family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    11/30/2011

    Raymond Lull

    Luther- you will never be forgotten. I will remember you forever. In 1964, you helped me thru the transition from military life to civilian life. I will always remember how we first met. I was walking from the dining hall in Masselink Commons towards the Student Center, when I felt a very firm grip on my shoulder with the following words “Hello Swabbie”. How did you know that I was a “swabbie”? Maybe it was my walk or it was quite possibly the fall jacket that I was wearing, as my grandmother had used a blue uniform top and made it into a jacket. You recognized the material. We swapped navy stories from then on. We saw each other through out the school year fairly often. In the fall of 1965, you returned a married man and both you and Mary lived Married Housing south of the Athletic Building. Soon your family grew to 3, with the birth of Faye. By this time, I had met Sharon and the 5 of us hung out and we bounced Faye on our knees. After earning your degree, I lost track of you and Mary. Somehow, we found each other after Sharon & I were married. Whenever the 2 families got together, someone had a new baby. We agreed that this had to stop.
    There were many times that I helped you renovate your home at 310 Grove Street. It was in the summer and it was hot and that resulted in many of the ladies in the area had the bare minimum on. This resulted in many Code 96’s (36-24-36- just add the numbers and you will find that the total is 96). You called them and I performed visually verification. We had several camping trips together. After our children grew up, the 4 of us would go to dinner. I remember once we went to The Oyster Haven on Fuller Street in Grand Rapids. We cleaned them out of shrimp. They were glad to see us go. When you moved from Grove Street to Franklin Street, I can remember only a couple of repair missions. The most challenging one was when Dawn was learning to drive, and she backed the car out of the garage and managed to hook the door jamb with the bumper and pulled the jamb off the garaqe pad. My dad and I were able to get it back in place with much difficulty. We had many good times together. After you moved to Ludington, I had one minor repair job and the additiion of a porch to the back door. It was harder to get together while you were in Ludington, and we were very happy that you moved back to Greenville. We have been friends for so long, it is going to be difficult for all of us. You and Mary have been Uncle and Aunt to our children, and we were to your children.
    I have a Boson’s Mate pipe. However, I do not know how to use it. If I did, I would “pipe” you ashore. I know that the Lord has one and He has “piped” you aboard.

    11/30/2011

    Vickie Jury

    I had Luther for a teacher the first year he taught at Greenville. Who would have known that later my daughter Carrie would be good friends with Dawn in grade school and later in life. Dawn was over to our house a lot and Carrie was over to hers. Funny how things turn out. The girls were in each others wedding and etc. Because of this I keep in touch with Luther and Mary.
    I’m so very sorry for your Family’s loss.

    11/30/2011

    Bonnie Crater

    Mary,Faye,Steve,Lil,
    So sorry to hear about Luther’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    With Love,
    Bonnie,Jessica,Barb,Tony

    11/30/2011

    Joy Golden Bussing

    I met Luther a long time ago thru my sister Dawn and then steve I remember him as a funny good natured man always smiled and would make u laugh. He will be greatly missed by many. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Lessard family may u find peace in this time or sorrow

    11/30/2011

    Jan & Dwight Wheelock

    Dear Mary and family,
    Between Ludington and Greenville our paths have crossed in many ways. We have fond memories of church and school activities with Luther and others in your family. God be with you now and always.
    Jan and Dwight Wheelock

    11/30/2011

    Patty Augustine Turnbull

    I’m sorry to hear Mr Lessard has passed away. I enjoyed being his student in the 70’s. He told many stories and was proud of his career. My sympathies to the Lessard family.
    Patty

    11/29/2011

    Kennetta Dines Lemon

    Mary and family; read about Luther and am saddened at the loss of a kind and giving man. It has been many years since seeing the family and lost touch. My sympathy to you. He was a good teacher and class was never boring.

    11/29/2011

    Janice Neitzel

    Mary and Family
    So sorry to hear about Luther. We both taught in the Business Department at GHS for years. Prayers go out to you. Janice Neitzel

    11/29/2011

    David and Lorri McGowan

    Dear Mary and family,
    We remember Luther from our time at the Greenville UMC and what a “happy” man he was. Our prayers are for comfort, strenght and peace at a most difficult time for you all.

    11/29/2011

    Trish Dulin

    Mary, Steven, Faye and Chuck,

    I am so sorry to hear about Luther. He was such a warm, loving man. May your memories comfort you. Know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Trish

    11/29/2011

    jennifer stoll bristol

    Dear Lessard Family,
    I am sorry to hear of the loss of Mr. Lessard.(yeah, I never could call him by his first name) Reading his obituary, I see there is so much more amazing things about him I didn’t know.

    I however am thankful to have gotten to know him after I graduated hs. What a wonderful, kind, loving man he was.

    My deepest heartfelt sympathy to all of you. I pray God gives you strength and comfort.

    Sincerly,
    Jennifer Stoll Bristol

    11/29/2011

    Bruce Kelly Hopkins

    Mrs Lessard Steve@Lillian, Real sorry to hear of your loss of your husband and dad. Your father was my teacher back in 1972 1973. Was a great teacher.He will be missed. My prays will be your hole family God Bless you.

    11/28/2011

    Steve

    So sorry to hear of Mr Lessards passing. I had several classes in High School and actually worked with him at the Candlestone Inn. Luther was a waiter for a few summers and I was working in the bar. Always a great guy to be around and well liked by all. I was on the SS Badger in 1984 coming back from Wisconsin and Luther was a steward and showed me around the entire boat. Never forget that.
    Sorry to hear of his passing, thoughts and prayers to his family,

    Steve
    Class of 1979

    11/28/2011

    Jason & Melanie Rodenhouse

    We were sadden to hear of Luthers passing, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this difficult time.

    11/28/2011

    Chuck & Bonnie Staffen

    Mary, I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Lessard. I will miss him terribly. He always made me smile. Going to his class in school was always fun, he made learning so interesting that you didn’t realize you were learning. I am glad that we remained friends. If there is anything we can do, don’t hesitate to call us. 616-225-2367. Our prayers are with you.

    11/28/2011



  2. C Dale Bannon on July 7, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Luther and I were grade school and high school friends. Luther and I were Scouts together in Troop 190 at the Community Church. Our dads were business friends and both were very active in Scouting and as was Doris. Luther’s dad always went by the name “Ray.” Luther would always greet me with the same salutation whenever we would meet: “You Rummy.” And, with a big smile on his face. Ray and Doris and Joe and Luther and Ron all lived with Doris’ mom in the Grandmother Foster home on Court Street. What a joy it was for me to visit at Luther’s house. Many a time we would play the Player Piano. There was a closet full of Player Rolls. Luther and I were “buds.” We grew up together. The Foster name was an important name in Ludington. We were all proud of it. I have great memories of the Foster House on Court Street and of the people who lived there. I miss Luther.



  3. C Dale Bannon on July 7, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    By the way, I do believe that Luther’s middle initial F. stood for Foster. There is a Foster Street in Ludington as well as a Foster Elementary School. Luther’s mom (Doris) was a great mom. I was considered family. Luther had great parents. Luther turned out great, too.



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