Leslie Forbister Harcus passed away on December 3, 2023. He was an author, proud WWII and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, banjoist, sailor, outdoor enthusiast, traveler, antique hunter, public relations professional, and legend among friends and family for his annual Christmas newsletter. He was always “Buzz” to those who knew him. Yet all his accomplishments paled in comparison to what was most important to him in this life: his family and the friends he made along the way.
Buzz was born on Aug. 20th, 1928, to Beatrice (Albrecht) and Leslie Harcus in Racine, Wisconsin. During the Great Depression, his family moved to Michigan, and he graduated from Eastern High School in 1946. Buzz earned his bachelor’s degree in art and his master’s degree in communications from Michigan State University. He also served in the U.S. Marines from 1946 to 1948 in Tsingtao, China.
After graduation he began his career with WKAR, serving as producer and director of in-school programming in different subject matters for MSU students. From there, he joined the Michigan Health Council, where he helped pioneer home health care programs in collaboration with the Michigan State Medical Society. He also worked with the Michigan Lung Association and before his retirement, was public relations director for the Saginaw County Health Department.
Of all the decisions Buzz made in his lifetime, he’d tell you the best was asking the beautiful and sunny Barbara Blackford to marry him. The two celebrated their 73rd anniversary this past September. From the outset, he was a hands-on father to their two beloved children, David and Renee; and a fiercely devoted grandfather to Troy, Taylor and Jeff. In retirement, he and Barb found their piece of heaven at their home on the lake in Mancelona, MI, where he enthusiastically served as a mate on the Madeline Schooner as part of the Maritime Heritage Alliance in Traverse City. He also found the time to write and publish nine mystery books. He and Barb also enjoyed their winter months at Myrtle Beach, SC, for many years.
He will be dearly and forever remembered for so many things. Among them, his gentle and patient guidance, the competitive streak that emerged when he was playing cards or board games, his elaborately planned scavenger hunts, sense of purpose, curiosity, and “stick-to-itiveness” whenever he embraced a new project. It was our great fortune to know him, to love him, and to be loved by him.
Buzz is pre-deceased by his parents; his brothers, Keith and Tom; sister Marilyn; sisters-in-law Joyce and JoAnn; brother-in law, Ed Bowen; and nephew Bruce Harcus. Buzz is survived by his son, David Harcus of DeWitt, Renee (Tom) Clifton of DeWitt, Troy Cowdrey of Lansing, Taylor Cowdrey of Chicago, IL and Jeff Harcus of Grand Rapids, MI. He also remembered fondly by his many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the wonderful staff of Gunnisonville Meadows Assisted Living facility for their compassion and love.
A visitation will be held for Buzz at the Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home in DeWitt, MI, 205 E. Washington Street, on Friday, Dec. 15th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Donations in his memory can be made to the Maritime Heritage Association in Traverse City, MI, here: https://www.maritimeheritagealliance.org/donate Interment services will take place in the spring.