Wanda Leets

Published 11:29 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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Oct. 7, 1931-April 16, 2024


Wanda M. Leets, 92, formerly of Dowagiac, passed away Tuesday morning, April 16, 2024, at Corewell Health Lakeland Hospital in Niles, MI. She was born on Oct. 7, 1931, in South Bend, IN, the daughter of the late Frank and Mary (Misztal) Szymczyk. On Nov. 17, 1951, Wanda was united in marriage to Donald E. Leets in South Bend, who passed away May 13, 1979.
Wanda grew up in South Bend, IN as one of six children. Her sisters and brother were Helen Dybala, Joan Stuglik, Alice Szymczak, Ted Szymczyk, Evelyn Herman, and many nieces and nephews dear to her heart. Her Catholic faith was the foundation of her beautiful life. Her grandparents and parents were Polish immigrants that moved to South Bend from Poland in the 1920’s.
Wanda met the love of her life, Donald, at a dance at St. Adelbert’s Church Hall. They married in their early 20’s and moved to San Diego, CA where Donald worked for McDonnell Douglas. They soon realized they missed being near family, so they relocated back to South Bend, IN, then to Dowagiac, MI.
Donald and Wanda began their life together and raised a family of six children. Their purpose was to create a family together. With a beautiful love for God, raising her children was the calling on Wanda’s life. She led by example, a life of devotion to Jesus and her faith, to her husband, and children. Wanda loved being a wife and mother, and volunteer. In 2014, she was recognized with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through her volunteer services in the community.
Wanda loved flowers, gardening, and bird watching. She loved her community and the beautiful friends that God brought into her life. She expressed her love by preparing meals for anyone who entered her home. Her gift of hospitality never ceased. She gave tirelessly of herself. Creating memories of the holidays was her specialty. Wanda loved to prepare authentic Polish foods for holiday meals. Holiday meals were a time of togetherness and joy. All were welcome. Neighborhood families would frequently join the family meals and celebrations. She was an avid baker and would prepare baked goods for the church, those in need, and the local nursing home.
Wanda will be remembered as a faithful wife, an inspirational example of a devoted and loving mother, and beautiful servant to a life dedicated to others.
Surviving are six children — Kathleen (Weldon) Townsend, Patrick (Jackie) Leets, Jennifer (Scott) Gray, Michael (Deirdre) Leets, Suzanne (Lloyd) Laurian, and Millissa (Joe) Alexander. Wanda had fourteen grandchildren — Joshua Leets, Heather Leets, Jacob Leets, Heidi Leets, Brandon Gray, Evan Gray, Erin Leets, Jared Leets, Sara Voight, Jeff Voight (preceded her in death), Kaylah Laurian, Logan Laurian, Gabrielle Laurian, and Nathan True. Wanda had fifteen great-grandchildren — Seth Leets, Autumn Leets, Josiah Leets, Levi Leets, Addison Patishnock, Alivia Leets, Alaina Leets, Sierra Leets, Sophia Leets, Lillian Henson, Nolan Henson, Barrett Henson, Molly Gray, Harper Gray, McKayla Weaver, Kyle Weaver, Caleb Weaver, Colin Hess, Paul Hess III, and Jericho Bowditch.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, April 26, at Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church, 210 N. Front St, Dowagiac, where friends may visit with the family from 9:30 AM until the time of services. Fr. Lazar Arul will be officiating. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Dowagiac. Arrangements were entrusted to Clark Chapel and Cremation Services, 405 Center St, Dowagiac. Memorial contributions in Wanda’s name may be directed to Holy Maternity of Mary by way of mass intentions. Please visit Wanda’s personalized webpage to share a memory or leave a condolence to her family at www.clarkch.com