Manuel Lewis Leeper, 57, of Jamestown, died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, following a brief illness.
He was born June 26, 1955, in Logan, W.Va., the ninth of 12 children of the late Calvin H. Leeper Sr. and Lena Mae Ferguson Leeper, where his nickname "Bone" originated.
Manuel was a 1974 graduate of Jamestown High School, where he was a gifted athlete in football and track. Known as "Manny" Leeper, he held several Western New Yorks records including a state record for the 400 yard dash. He attended Kent State University and continued playing football and participating in indoor track. After college he played semi-professional football with the Tonawanda Cougars.
Manuel loved all sports, and in his later years found golf as his new passion. He and his golf buddies have been known to play at two different courses in one day.
Manuel worked at various manufacturing sites in Jamestown. He had been employed by RHI Monofrax in Falconer, for a number of years and most recently by FCA Manufacturing in Lakewood.
Manuel appreciated beauty in all its forms. He loved nature and had a special relationship with all creatures, especially the birds in his back yard. Always the individual, Manuel wasn't afraid to express himself with his style of dress. He'll always be remembered for his matching sunglasses, hats, jewelry, belts and flip-flops.
Manuel had a deep love for family and friends. He always enjoyed visiting his children and grandchildren. He had a huge heart always lifting up the spirits of the elderly and the sick. His charismatic personality, with his smile, his 'gift of gab' and his humor will be dearly missed by all who knew him. A larger than life character, he would definitely light up a room with his presence.
Most importantly, the family is rejoicing that having given himself to the Lord, Manuel is now with Jesus. He was happy to shout out and sing praises to God. He loved his music, especially gospel.
In addition to his wife, Karen Bjorkholm-Leeper, surviving are his children: Casey (Darryl) Simmons, HaShaun Leeper, Henry Lamont (Coco) Leeper, Aaron (Karen) Leeper, Lena Leeper, Precious Lawrence, Alexander Lawrence, Koty Leeper and Khloe Leeper; and his grandchildren: Deserae Leeper, HaShaun Leeper Jr., Alexandra Lindsey, Spencer and Gabrielle Simmons, Evan Leeper, Eliza and Omar Mapps, and Nathan Leeper.
Also surviving are brothers: Richard (Kathy), Ronnell, Wayne (Melanie), Greg (Debbie) and Calvin Jr. (Burnetta) Leeper, all of Jamestown; sisters: Calvinia Knight, Fannell Leeper, Gloria (Frank) Murphy, Phyllis (Lonnie) Kinsey and Diane Hicks, all of Jamestown; three aunts, several nieces and nephews and a host of cousins; in-laws: William and Dorothy Bjorkholm and Cynthia and Bruce Lawson; and several special friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, both in 2004, and a brother, Roger A. (Gigi) Leeper in 2008.
The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Jamestown. The Rev. Adam Miller-Stubbendick will officiate. Burial will be in Lake View Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Lind Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the St. Susan Center, P.O. Box 1276, Jamestown, NY 14701; or the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown, 62 Allen St., Jamestown, NY 14701.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Manuel at www.lindfuneralhome.com.