FAIRMONT - James W. Leet, 74, lifelong resident of Fairmont, Minn., passed away Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at his home in Fairmont. A memorial service will be held at a later date, and burial will be in the ancestral family plot at Lakeside Cemetery. Lakeview Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Fairmont is assisting the family with arrangements.
James William Leet was born Jan. 28, 1939, in Fairmont, the son of Theodore J. and Helena Marie (Chase) Leet. Jim graduated from Fairmont High School. Following his graduation, he attended college at St. Olaf and Mankato State, and also Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. Upon completion of his education, Jim returned home and began working in the family business. Jim drove truck and became an equipment operator and excavating contractor before taking over the family business. He retired in 2004. During his retirement, Jim enjoyed helping friends with projects and lending a hand whenever able. He was a member of the Historical Construction Equipment Association, a union member of the Operating Engineers and he had been a past member of the Civil Air Patrol. Jim enjoyed light classical music and quiet reading, especially of historical aviation. His visits to the WWII aircraft museum in Duxbury, England, and to the Smithsonian's Air & Space museum in Washington, D.C., and the huge hangars of its adjunct Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia were treasured. He enjoyed attending construction shows with his brother Kermit, looking over equipment both new and old, as well as going to equipment auctions. Well after his retirement, Jim kept up to date on the rules and regulations with excavations and was known throughout the area as the person to go to if you needed some advice on a project. Jim was a sensitive and caring person. He was quick-witted, and knowledgeable about diverse facts from geography to obscure facts about the British monarchy. He liked to tell, and retell, stories about life in Fairmont as it unfolded during his lifetime.
Left to cherish his memory are his brother, Kermit Leet and his wife, Laurel, of Butterfield, Minn.; his two sisters, Virginia Rose and her husband, Richard, of Bloomington, Ind., and Phyllis Schultz and her husband, Jerald, of Ridgecrest, Calif.; 12 nieces and nephews; as well as extended family members and friends.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Marie Leet.
The family suggests that memorials can be given in Jim's name to the Martin County Historical Society or the Fairmont Salvation Army.