June 1, 1923 – Thursday, February 18, 2011
The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Leonard Anthony Thibodeau, age 87, of Buffalo passed away on Friday, February 18, 2011 at Park View Care Center in Buffalo.
He was born on June 1, 1923 in Rockford the son of Alexander & Katherine Bokusky Thibodeau. Leonard was half German on his mother’s side and half French on his father’s side. His mother was also born in Rockford. His father worked at a flour mill in Minneapolis. He tragically drowned in Lake Rebecca when Leonard was very young. Leonard’s mother could not take care of all the kids, so his grandparents raised him on their farm outside of Rockford.
Leonard had two sisters: Adeline and Betty. On the farm they had lots of cats as pets. His grandparents still had five of their own kids at home when they raised Leonard, which was very kind of them to do. Leonard remembered one spring when the water was so high that a creek formed in the field they had to cross to get to school. The neighbors, the Wandersees, put boards across the creek for us so we could get to school. Leonard loved playing basketball with the kids in the neighborhood. He would go to Buffalo and pay a quarter to watch them play basketball. He liked throwing the football around. In the spring when they would clean out the barn he’d take a baseball into the hay mound and play with it there. His favorite subject in school was arithmetic. He was pretty good at it! He left school after the 7th grade so he could take care of the farm for his mother.
His mother married Sam Forsyth, who bought a farm outside of Buffalo. All of us went to live there. During World War II, Leonard served in the Army for two years in Saipan, Okinawa and then as part of the occupying forces in Japan. He walked through one of the cities where the atomic bomb had been dropped. It looked like a huge fire had roared through the city, burning everything. Leonard never forgot the devastation.
Returning home, his mother gave him the farm since Sam had died. Leonard and Evelyn were married on January 18th, 1947. God blessed their marriage with six children: Bruce, Diane, Keith, Craig, Wendy and Cindy. Some of the greatest moments in his life were when each of the children were born! Leonard remembers making swings on the clothesline for Bruce and Diane which they enjoyed until Diane was cut by her eye when she swung into Bruce!
Leonard’s favorite part of farming was his team of horses. He took good care of them. One spring, when the road by his place was very muddy, the ambulance driver ran off the road. Leonard’s team pulled them out and the driver said, “What a beautiful team! May I take their picture?” He came back, took their picture, and they printed it in the Buffalo Press. Leonard worked very hard on the farm with thirty cows and a bull, milking morning and evening. He didn’t have time to take vacations!
One of the things he was the proudest doing was recovering from a stroke. He worked very hard for many months in therapy to learn to walk, talk and use his left hand again.
He was raised Catholic but became Lutheran when he married his wife. He went to church every Sunday. He continued to pray all the time. His favorite Scripture passage was The Lord’s Prayer. Two of his favorite hymns were “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace”. “An important lesson I’ve learned that I want to pass on to others is to be honest and tell the truth. I’d like people to know how hard I worked to recover from my stroke.” The doctor told Leonard he would never walk again, and he proved him wrong.
Survived by his children: Bruce (Linda) Thibodeau of Buffalo and their children: Brandon Thibodeau & special friend Karina, Brooke and Jen Thibodeau and great grandchildren: Carson, Teagon & Brianna Thedens; Diane (Dale) Lay of Buffalo and their children: Traci Lay and Chad and Jennifer Lay and great grandchildren: Raven lay; Keith Thibodeau of Rockford with his children: Dennis and Shannon Thibodeau, Patrick and Amy Thibodeau, Mickael Taylor and Angel and Cory Maish and great grandchildren: Isabelle Thibodeau, Aiden Thibodeau, Tre and Austin Taylor and Julius and Keaton Maish; Craig (Lisa) Thibodeau of Clearwater and their children: Lara and Jordan Feyma, Jordan and Tiffanie Thibodeau, Drew Thibodeau and fiancé Kristina Ihrke, Beauregard Thibodeau and Shennon Thibodeau and great grandchildren: Tristan Thibodeau and Omar Feyma; Wendy Thibodeau of Glencoe and her daughter Ashley and Matthew Maiers and great grandchildren: Jude Maiers; and Cindy Summers of Waverly.
Preceded in death by his parents; sisters: Adeline DesMarais and Betty (Edward) Glunz Kippley; and former wife Evelyn Thibodeau.
Funeral services for Leonard Thibodeau will be held on Thursday, February 24th at 10:00 A.M. at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. Pastor Highland Goodman will officiate. Congregational hymns will be “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Children of the Heavenly Father”.
Interment with military rites will follow at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, February 23rd from 4-8 P.M. at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.
Honorary Casket Bearers will be Brandon Thibodeau, Patrick Thibodeau, Jordan Thibodeau, Shennon Thibodeau Beauregard Thibodeau and Mickael Taylor.
Casket Bearers will be Chad Lay, Brooke Thibodeau, Drew Thibodeau, Jordan Feyma, Dennis Thibodeau and Ashley Maiers.
The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo is serving the family. Online condolences may be made to www.thepetersonchapel.com