Leo Weingartner, age 103, lifelong resident of Gladstone passed away May 5, 2018 at the Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba.
Leo was born Oct 10, 1914 at the family home in Gladstone and except for a few early years and later while railroading, lived in Gladstone his entire life. Leo graduated Gladstone High School and hoped to attend Notre Dame, but the Great Depression and family needs dictated employment. While still in high school he worked at and later managed a Standard Oil Service Station in Gladstone, eventually signing on with the Soo Line Railroad in the early 1940’s, where he worked until retirement. Leo was one of the last “real railroaders” who started their careers as firemen shoveling coal into the fireboxes of steam locomotives. The diesel locomotives he operated as an engineer when he retired were a world removed from the fire belching beasts of the 1940’s. Leo married his high school crush, Ruth Kee while still working for Standard Oil. They were married for 48 years until her passing in 1985. During the 1950’s Ruth and Leo owned “Weingartner’s Restaurant” in Gladstone which Ruth managed. Hours spent dealing with the business often elicited, “I’d rather be fishing”, retorts from Leo. After the restaurant was closed in the early 1960’s, Leo’s free time once again returned to his three passions fishing, hunting and gardening, and as he neared retirement age golf was added to the repertoire. During March/April when UP weather renders these activities either futile or masochistic Leo and Ruth often ventured on road trips to sun-filled states, usually Florida , with evening stops planned at locations boasting inexpensive golf courses. Leo would golf with Ruth either riding along in the cart or reading in their room. During retirement these passions were simply expanded to full time. Following Ruth’s death Leo frequently commented that aside from the bounty of his garden and his harvests from the woods, Bay de Noc, and area trout streams, the only food items he purchased were dairy products and bread. As he grew older Leo was a walking rebuttal to modern medical theories regarding cocktail consumption and longevity. He did not miss his evening seven and sevens until his final weeks in nursing care. The Weingartner house was always the social center for Ruth and Leo’s extended family with many profound discussions and world problems being solved while all were seated around the renowned family table. He loved to play cribbage with his grandkids and spend time with family at the same table with its grand view of Bay de Noc. Leo did not take well to sedentary life. Even with advanced macular degeneration he convinced, much to the consternation of family, a local dealership to sell him a car at the age of 98. Stated delicately, Leo never quite accepted the inactive, caregiving lifestyle of senior living, and, until his passing, grudgingly longed for his earlier independence.
In addition to his parents and wife, Leo was preceded in death by:
sisters: Sophia VanDaele (Floyd), and Margaret Long (Vernon)
brother: Roy (Lucille)
and son-in-law Randell Moreau.
He is survived by son, Peter (Sharon) of St. Augustine, FL, and daughter, Kay Moreau of Traverse City.
10 great grandchildren
and numerous nephews and nieces.
Leo’s family express their thanks to the tolerant, understanding staff at Bishop Noa Home for their care, the home health aids while he was at home, and to the many neighbors and friends who helped Leo maintain his at home independence until nearing his 100th birthday.
At Leo’s request, there will be no service. A family memorial is planned for a summer date to be determined. Any memorials should be made to a favorite charity.
The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Weingartner family.