Paul Edwin “Pud” Leesman, 91, of Hartsburg, Illinois, passed away at 7:35 p.m. on December 31, 2017, at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Illinois.
His funeral will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, January 6 at Faith Lutheran Church, Lincoln with Rev. Mark Peters officiating. Fricke-Calvert-Schrader Funeral Home, Lincoln, is assisting the family with arrangements. Visitation will be at Faith Lutheran Church from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 5, 2018, and one hour prior to the services. Interment will be at Hartsburg Union Cemetery with military rites accorded. Memorials may be made to Faith Lutheran Church Educational Resources and Camp Griesheim Christian Retreat Center, Atlanta, Illinois.
Paul was born August 13, 1926, in Hartsburg, Illinois, the son of Claus and Kathryn (Glick) Leesman. His inherent love for family and farming began with his birth on the kitchen table at the family farm. He was the second youngest of their five children. He married Marcia Joyce Klemm, March 25, 1950, in Atlanta, Illinois. She preceded him in death January 10, 1985. He married Geraldine Ruben Liesman, December 12, 1985. She preceded him in death December 23, 1997.
Also preceding him in death were his parents, one brother, two sisters, and two step-sisters. His mother passing away when he was age seven changed his life and developed his strong sense of responsibility and sensitivity to the needs of others at a young age, which continued through his life. Surviving are two children Karen (Robert) Cullen, Bloomington, and Kevin (Joyce) Leesman, Hartsburg; five grandchildren, Keenan (Alexis), Kent (Ally) and Kory (Lyndi) Leesman, all of Hartsburg; William Cullen, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Kathryn Cullen (fiancé Seth Stalter), Bloomington; six great-grandchildren; two step-children, Aaron (Joyce) Liesman and Jill (Paul) Kastner; five step-grandchildren, Adam Liesman, Chatham, Rachel Liesman, Kansas City, Tara (Matt) Comstock, Ali (Ryan) Williams, Lincoln, and Kyle (Caroline) Hower, Springfield; six step-great-grandchildren; one brother, Lloyd, Lincoln; a brother-in-law, Wendell Cross; and a sister-in-law, Irma Leesman, both of Hartsburg. He dearly loved his 28 nieces and nephews.
Paul graduated from Hartsburg-Emden High School in 1944 having enjoyed playing point guard for their basketball teams. Following his two-year U.S. Army service in the Philippines at the end of WWII, he graduated from Lincoln College in 1949, where he also played basketball. He had planned to continue his education in agriculture at the University of Illinois, but an opportunity arose to farm on his own east of Hartsburg. His passion for farm began at age four helping his father with harvest by following the wagon and tossing in ears of corn that were missed. In 2010 he was recognized for 60 continuous years of harvest since beginning his independent farming career. Having begun farming with horses and progressing to GPS-guided tractors, Pud remained actively engaged on the grain and livestock farm with his son and grandson until he was 89 years old.
Appreciative of his own quality education, Paul served on the Hartsburg-Emden School Board for 15 years, eight as president, and then served as an elected representative for Logan County on the Regional Board of School Trustees for Logan, Mason and Menard Counties for 20 years. His final community service was on the Hartsburg State Bank Board of Directors for 25 years, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
Paul was a leader and active member of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hartsburg, for most of his life and was the first child baptized in their new church in 1926. Later in life, he attended Faith Lutheran Church, Lincoln, where he thoroughly enjoyed being fed spiritually through the hearing and study of God’s Word in many great discussions at Sunday School. He treasured and was devoted to his faith, and it served as an anchor throughout his life. One of his many daily prayers was that his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would have faith in Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life in heaven. His family is blessed to have inherited this legacy of faith and is certain that he is now with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We all look forward to an eternal reunion with him.
Pud was a pillar of strength in his family, church, and community. He will be dearly missed for his moral character, loving devotion to family, strong work ethic, fun-loving disposition, wise counsel and generous spirit. He treasured many relationships with people of all ages and never met a stranger. With a strong “can do” approach to life, he seldom complained and always saw the positive outcome, no matter the circumstances. His family wishes to thank the staff of St. Clara’s Manor and Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Lincoln for their compassionate care and all who made visits or sent cards.