Obituary – Armond Francis “Lee” LeClair
Armond Francis LeClair of Grenada, Miss., known to his many friends and family as “Lee”, passed away on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, at the age of 93, with his family by his side. Beloved brother, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Lee was born in Cheboygan, Mich., on May 14, 1926, to Bernard Charles and Rubie Mae LeClair.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, at All Saints Episcopal Church, Grenada, Miss. Inurnment will follow in the church columbarium. The family will receive friends in the church parish hall from 9:30 a.m. until service time. Arrangements have been entrusted to McKibben and Guinn Funeral Service in Grenada, (662-307-2694).
Lee was one of six children and spent his youth on the family farm. As a young man, he enlisted in the Army to serve his country during World War II. At the end of the war, Lee returned to Michigan and worked as a State Trooper. Lee’s real passion, however, was in manufacturing and sales and soon he found himself at Brunswick Corporation working in the MacGregor Golf Division in Albany, Ga. While with MacGregor, Lee honed his skill as a golfer, and avidly played the game the remainder of his life. On corporate outings, he played with Arnie Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and other great golfers of the era. His time at Brunswick-MacGregor gave Lee the skills and confidence to strike out on his own and so, in 1979, Lee and his business partner started the Perma “R” Products brand of polystyrene insulation products with manufacturing facilities in Grenada, Miss., and Johnson City, Tenn. Lee bought out his partner in 1981 and created LeClair Industries, Inc. as a holding company for the Perma “R” companies. A third manufacturing company was added by LeClair Industries in Adel, Ga., in 2007. Today, the companies have over 145 employees. Lee’s children have always been an integral part of LeClair Industries and continue Lee’s legacy through their commitment to the companies he founded.
Lee knew well the importance of active involvement in the business community in which he worked. He was honored to serve 4 years on the Grenada City Council. His membership in the Grenada Rotary Club and the friends he made were particularly meaningful to him. He was extremely honored to be named a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest honor bestowed on a Rotarian. He was actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America from which he received the Silver Beaver Award, an award given to adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth. He was a staunch advocate of the Boys & Girls Club of Grenada due to his own personal interaction as a youth with the Boys and Girls Club in Michigan. Lee was a devout Christian and he and his wife, Ruth, were members of All Saints Episcopal Church. They were ardent supporters and participants in its ministries.
Lee never let the grass grow too long under his feet. His appetite for activity was unquenchable. From golf outings, to an adventurous boat trip on the Mississippi River in his Sea Ray, to his construction and garden projects around the house, he always had something going on or being planned, and he encouraged his family to be a part. He might sit for a while, but, if you were sitting beside him, he would soon give a playful slap to your knee and with a “By Cracky” he would be off with you in tow. Although he loved a project no matter the size, Lee especially delighted in the sublime of small things such as a comfortable seat in a beautiful garden with a glass of wine and a favorite song by crooner Eddie Arnold.
He greatly appreciated a fine meal and always ended such a meal with compliments to the chef whether that chef was a professional or one of his children. Lee’s wardrobe included a variety of hats and he always sported a dapper one when outdoors playing golf or enjoying his garden. Lee was generous with a handshake, a kiss, a compliment. Even at 93, his surprisingly quick wit could bring a smile and a laugh. Lee was charming and just plain fun.
Lee married the love of his life, Ruth Fynwever, on September 23, 1950, in Coopersville, Mich. Together they raised seven children. Of all his accomplishments, Lee was most proud of their children. They are Jennifer LeClair (James), of Albany, Ga., Paulette Haggerty (Mike), of Dallas, Texas, Dan LeClair (Barbara), of Snellville, Ga., Alan LeClair (Barbara), of Johnson City, Tenn., Renee Wilbourn (Rick), of Grenada, Miss., Allison Johnson (Mike), of Dallas, Texas, and Tim LeClair (Stephanie), of Grenada.
His children blessed him with thirteen grandchildren. The blessings continue with the addition of seven great-grandchildren, with three more on the way. Lee is also survived by a loving sister, Joyce Griffin, of Reidsville, N.C., and a sister-in-law, Rosemarie LeClair, of South Bend, Wash., of whom he was extremely fond. Last year, Lee bade farewell to Ruth, his loving and devoted wife of 67 years. In addition to Ruth and his parents, he was preceded in death by two granddaughters and four brothers and sisters.
Lee made friends easily and it was most recently made evident by his move to The Blake in Oxford. To those who became his family there and to all family and friends wherever you may reside, Lee doffs his hat and bids you a loving farewell!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed in Lee’s name to The Boys & Girls Club of Grenada, 351 S. Line Street, Grenada, MS 38901. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.mckibbenandguinn.com.