102nd birthday drive-by,‘I am truly blessed’

By David Fleet
Ortonville-When Kathleen Leece turned 100 years old she advised people to “keep moving and don’t sit down and let the world go by.”
Now at 102 she’s still moving.
On Nov. 10, Leece now a centenarian plus two celebrated her birthday accompanied by her daughters on the steps of The Old Mill, 366 Mill St. with the community with a drive up gathering.
Between noon and 1 p.m., well-wishers including the Brandon Fire Department and Oakland County Sheriff deputies drove past Leece, some providing gifts others stopping at a distance to wave.
“Thank you to Ortonville, my home town, where I was born, grew up, married and lived for 102 years,” said Leece, following the birthday celebration. “Thank you to my family and friends, the police and fire departments who shared in the “Drive-By” at The Old Mill on Tuesday, November 10. I am truly blessed.”
Kathleen (Sanders) was born Nov. 10, 1918 at home, 66 Cedar St., Ortonville, just a moment before the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the Armistice was signed ending World War I. Her parents gave her the middle name Victora in honor of the victory of World War I.

Kathleen walked to the Ortonville school at Cedar and Ball streets. Her mother had to watch her cross South Street carefully in front of their house because the DUR train tracks ran right down South Street in front of their house, she recalled.  When she was about 14 years old her dad taught her to drive and she drove the old Chevy around town. After she graduated from high school she drove to Clarkston to get her driver’s license. No driver’s training.
Kathleen met John Elwyn Leece, while skating on the Old Mill Pond right down the street from their house. They were married on July 12, 1941 and lived at 1814 Hadley Road on the Leece Farm where Kathleen became a farmer’s wife.

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