At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Bronson Health Foundation
301 John St, Box C
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
3003 S. State Dr., Ste 8000
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
University of Michigan Department of Urology Prostate Cancer Research Fund #335755
Life Story / Obituary
Rodney Gordon Leversee, age 74, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at Bronson Methodist Hospital on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.
Rod was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 9, 1947 to Gordon F. and Betty (Bollinger) Leversee. His brother, Doug, completed their family of four in their home on Drake Road. Rod was a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo. He graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1966 where he was an outstanding athlete, playing baseball and basketball, and was a member of K-Club and band follies. After high school, he attended Western Michigan University, where he continued his love of sports, playing baseball, and managing the basketball team. Rod followed in his father’s footsteps as a union electrician. He was a proud member of IBEW Local #131 and served as President and business manager over the years. Near the end of his career, Rod started his own electrical company, Kalamazoo Valley Electric.
Rod married the love of his life, Susan Kay Berner, and they had two children, Dana and Rodney G. Leversee, II. Rod and Susan crossed paths in high school through mutual friends and band follies, but didn’t start dating until after graduation. He charmed her with invitations to watch him and his brother race in motor cross bike competitions. Together they raised their family on Kalamazoo’s west side. Rod loved coaching and managing Rodney’s Westwood Little League teams and developing young baseball players. With both Rod and Susan’s extended families living in the Kalamazoo area, we made wonderful memories with great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins celebrating family milestones, camping, taking vacations, and more.
While he loved his children, Dana and Rodney, his biggest love was for his three granddaughters, Molly, Caroline, and, most recently, Sydney. We are so thankful that Sydney brought him so much joy these past six months. He was a hands-on Gramps and loved spoiling his granddaughters. Whether it was giving them rides on his motorcycle or lawnmower, taking them lunch at school, going out for ice cream, picking blueberries, or going on Tower of Terror at Disney World, he was all in. Rod loved attending all of their events and took many vacations with them.
If you knew Rod, you knew that he could strike up a conversation with anyone, and we do mean anyone. He frequently frustrated his children during their teenage years when the home phone was tied up for hours as he conducted “union business.” He gave you a firm handshake and looked you in the eye. Rod was genuinely interested in how you were doing and truly made you feel seen and heard. He had the gift of gab and was known for his hearty laugh. No matter where we were, he always ran into someone he knew, whether it be five minutes from home, or at The Antlers restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie (true story).
Rod was a proud American and always looked for the “Made in USA” sticker on everything he purchased. He enjoyed listening to Motown music and The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Rod was always up for getting ice cream, no matter what time of day. He loved pie, Arnold Palmers, Harley-Davidsons, baseball, and collecting hats. If you needed a tool or help with a project, he was your go-to guy. He loved spending time at Lake Michigan and finding the off-the-beaten-path places in northern Michigan. Our family made special memories with him on Torch Lake at Ted and Dana’s.
We, Dana and Rodney, would be remiss if we did not acknowledge our mom for all that she did for our dad, especially over the past decade. None of us will truly know the sacrifices she made to care for him. She was his biggest cheerleader, caregiver, encourager, and so much more. We will be forever grateful to her.
Rod was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Susan; children: Dana Bucknam (Ted) and Rodney G. Leversee, II (Kate); grandchildren: Molly and Caroline Bucknam and Sydney Leversee: brother, Douglas (Sandy); sisters in-law: Julie (Gary) Mattison and Jill Rynd; brother in-law, Jack (Patty) Berner; and many nieces and nephews.
While we will miss him tremendously, we know that he is at peace. Our family will receive guests and celebrate Rod’s life on Saturday, November 5, 2022 from 12:00-3:00 PM at Gull Lake Country Club, 9725 West Gull Lake Drive, Richland.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to either Michigan Medicine (University of Michigan, Department of Urology Prostate Cancer Research Fund #335755, 3003 South State Street, Suite 8000, Ann Arbor, MI 48109) or Bronson Health Foundation (301 John Street, Box C, Kalamazoo, MI 49007) noting Rod Leversee Memorial in the memo line. Rod was grateful for the kindness, compassion and care he received at both of these hospitals. Our family cannot thank the Bronson medical staff enough for their care during Rod’s last days.