David Oliver “Dave” Leach, age 84, of Portage, Michigan and formerly of Battle Creek, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Dave Leach was born November 18, 1938, at home in Bedford Township, Michigan to Thelma Frances Leach and Warren Clare Leach. As a young child, while his parents worked, his two sisters, Mary and Kathleen, took care of him and loved him very much. He attended Lakeview High School and played football. Dave graduated in 1957 and after high school, worked for the Michigan Job Corps. He served as an Airman First Class in the Michigan Air National Guard from August 1961 to August 1967.
Dave started his career as a firefighter for the Battle Creek Lakeview Township and later the city. He loved his career and met many fellow firefighters whom he considered good friends. Dave retired as a Captain in 1997, after 30 years of service. He also worked part-time for Lakeview Schools.
Dave had three daughters by his first marriage. He loved them dearly and enjoyed taking them camping at Sand Lake, Michigan. It was there that he taught them to fish and they discovered their love of swimming. Dave and his daughters were avid swimmers. They participated in the Leroy Sparks Marathon @ the YMCA and swam the Goguac Lake Swim for many years. He was always involved in his daughters’ many activities, both sports and otherwise.
Dave had a passion for music, especially the Beatles, Blues, Elvis, and so many other artists. If it was something he could tap his feet to and had a good beat, he enjoyed listening to it. During High School, he imitated Elvis for a talent show. He also was in the Battle Creek Leila Follies. Dave was an avid sports lover, especially golf and swimming throughout his life. He loved watching Michigan sports and followed the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. Dave was a timer for his daughters while they swam in the Battle Creek Swim Club and at Lakeview High School. He also kept football stats at Lakeview for many years. Dave was a member of the Lakeview Lions Club and attended the First United Methodist Church of Battle Creek.
Dave married Leona M. Lindsay on June 21, 1985. They were married 38 years. He is survived by his loving wife, Leona; and daughters, Julianne (Rick) Mathiak, Merrilee (Craig) Waltman, and Heidi (Scott) Case. Dave was blessed with six grandchildren, Stephanie (Charles) Collins, Brittany (John) Gosline, Nick (Aubrie) Case, Russell (Haley) Mathiak, Allena (Adryan) Waltman, and Emily Case; nine great-grandchildren, Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah Collins, Gabriel Case, Noah and Liam Gosline, Evelyn Mathiak, Akira and Alec’Zander Waltman; nieces, Robin Knitt, Terri (Mark) MacFawn, Mary Christine (Greg) Galloway, Katherine (Kevin) Smallwood; and nephews, Ron (Rosie) Dennis Jr. and Terry Dennis.
With his wife, Leona, he traveled to many Michigan cities. They especially enjoyed Traverse City and Petoskey, where Leona was born. They also traveled out East, where one highlight for both of them, was attending a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. They also traveled to Ireland twice, so Leona could see where her father was born. They had great times and Dave adapted easily to driving on the opposite side of the road.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Warren Clare Leach and Thelma Frances Leach; his sisters, Kathleen (Wendall) Chapman, and Mary (Charles) Brigden; half-sister, Nan Dennis; a special uncle & aunt, Roland (Myra) Harris; nephews, Ron Dennis and Larry Dennis; and several other aunts, uncles and cousins.
Dave was a family man and a hero to his daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and will be dearly missed by all of them and his close friends.
The family will receive friends 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 9th at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek where a memorial service to celebrate Dave's life will begin at 2:00 p.m. The service will be Livestreamed and may be viewed at https://vimeo.com/event/3462011/80117052ee. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Personal messages for the family and favorite memories of Dave may be here placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.