John E. Leese



Memorial Contributions:

Van Andel Institute Parkinson’s Research 


Emmanuel Hospice

401 Hall Street, Ste 263

Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

John Ernest Leese, age 92, passed into the presence of his Lord and Savior, surrounded by family, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. Diagnosed at age 74, his tenacious fight lasted 18 years.

John was born February 20, 1932, in Flushing, Michigan to Ernest and Phyllis Leese who emigrated from England to the United States to begin their family together. As a young boy, John’s family moved to Grand Rapids, where his father started Leese Tool & Die, a company for which John would one day become President. He graduated from Creston High School, served his country in the United States Army Airborne Division during the Korean War, and attended Western Michigan University. While at Western, he met his wife Marilyn who was teaching elementary school in Kalamazoo.

An accomplished engineer, there was nothing John couldn’t fabricate, build, or create and design. After his tool and die career, John went on to work for, and eventually own, Production Equipment Systems. In his later years, he followed a long-time passion for owning a restaurant and opened Googenheimer’s Old Time Saloon, in Grand Haven, Michigan. During his retirement, he obtained his contractor’s license, and began a custom woodworking business for many local clients.

John had a beautiful singing voice and sang with the Grand Rapids Schubert Club for many years, as well as in the church choir in his younger years. He was a long-time member of the Shrine Motor Patrol, Old Speckled Hen MG Club, Cadillac LaSalle Club, Cascade Country Club, and Trinity Lutheran Church.

He would tell you his proudest accomplishment was his family. John is survived by his wife of 67 years, Marilyn; son, John M. (Mary) Leese; daughter, Kristin (Kent) Linkfield; grandchildren, Jonathon (Leslie) Leese, Austin (Allison) Linkfield, Aubrey (Michael) Vazquez, Conor (MacKenzie) Linkfield, Jordan Leese; great-granddaughter, Dakota Linkfield, and expecting his second great-grandchild, Dakota’s brother, early this summer; sister, Patricia Mulder; and several nieces and nephews. John is the middle child of three children, preceded in death by his younger brother, Gerald Leese; nephews, Steven Mulder and Michael Leese.

The family wishes to thank our parents’ long time caregiver Peggy, Emmanuel Hospice, and John’s personal aide, Taylor, Meca’s Angels private duty nursing, and personal overnight nurse, Brianna, and Laura from Grace In the Leaving. They have all been angels in disguise.

The family will greet friends and relatives at 10am on Friday, April 19, 2024, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2700 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids, MI 49506, with services beginning at 11:30am. Rev. Kari Fast officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Van Andel Institute Parkinson’s Research or Emmanuel Hospice, 401 Hall Street, Ste 263, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503.

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One Response

  1. John,
    Maureen and I were so sad to learn of your dad’s passing. It sounds like he fought valiantly against his Parkinson’s. Reading his obituary demonstrates the very full life he lived which I hope provides some degree of comfort. We will keep both him and your family in our prayers.

    Dave Krhovsky

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