Leon Laylin

Published 8:25 pm Friday, December 23, 2022

Aug. 27, 1937-Dec. 17, 2022


Leon D Laylin, 85, a lifelong resident of Dowagiac, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph, MI.
Leon was born on Aug. 27, 1937, in Dowagiac, the son of Erwin and Janis (Boyce) Laylin. He was a 1956 graduate of Dowagiac Union High School. Leon was a veteran of the United States Navy serving four years from 1956-1960. On March 16, 1958, Leon was united in marriage to the former Shirley Sheline. Leon and Shirley owned and operated Layling Welding in Dowagiac from 1961-2005. He was an active member of the Dowagiac community. Leon served Third Ward Councilman 24 years, Mayor Pro Tempore, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and City of Dowagiac Planning Commission. His legacy will not be forgotten as he was involved in the funding of improvements to homes in neighborhoods and downtown, the redevelopment of Commercial Street entry to the downtown, the redevelopment of the former middle school into the Donald D. Lyons Health Center and new single family homes, the relocation of the Dowagiac Area History Museum, the purchase and continuing development of Russom Park and the purchase of blighted block across from City Hall and the development of the James E. Snow Building. In October 2021, Leon was honored during his final Dowagiac City Council meeting, where the city council reenacted a resolution to rename Water Tower Park to Laylin Park. Leon was also a member of Dowagiac Elks Lodge #889 and Dowagiac Lions Club, where he volunteered as an eye donor transporter. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Preceding him in death were his wife of 62 years, Shirley Laylin; parents, Erwin and Janis Laylin; brother, Wayne Laylin; and a stillborn son.
Surviving are daughter, Rona (Richard) Darr; two grandchildren, Brandie (Jason) Maxwell and Matthew (Melissa) Darr; four great-grandchildren, Kaylee, Sara, Maxwell and Willow; sister, Beverly VanDenBorre of Tuscon, AZ; brother, Gale (Linda) Laylin of Dowagiac and several nieces and nephews.
Honoring Leon’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A Memorial Service to celebrate Leon’s life will be held in the Spring 2023. Private family inurnment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Dowagiac. Memorial contributions in Leon’s name may be directed to Boys Town (www.boystown.org) or Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org). Arrangements have been entrusted to Clark Chapel, 405 Center Street, Dowagiac. Those wishing to share a memory of Leon online may do so atĀ www.clarkch.com