Continuing a family legacy

November 20, 2023

Leckrone Family

Dorsey and Sally Leckrone were farmers, teachers, and parents of eight. They made sure there were always magazines, books, and other reading material available at home and instilled a strong belief in
the importance of education in their children.

Their son Donald Leckrone noted that education was something of a family calling. At least four of his father’s siblings were teachers, as were several of Donald’s siblings. From teaching and seminary to nursing, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship, the Leckrone siblings “did not lack for get up and go,” said Donald. “Keeping the 85 billion neurons in your cranium active is healthy. Your mind needs stimulation—your spirit as well—and that gray matter has to be exercised.”

The Leckrone family has also had connections to the Community Foundation since its earliest years. Donald’s younger siblings received scholarships to attend Interlochen Center for the Arts. Donald also received financial help to attend college and seminary, and his first job in 1955 was to run the projector on Wednesdays for a Bessie Slautterback-inspired program at the Community Foundation.

“All eight of us kids benefitted from the Community Foundation in one way or another,” said Donald.

Those connections remained over the decades as Donald began to donate to the Community Foundation whenever he was able. Later, a story about a scholarship created in memory of his classmate Richard Crandell sparked a new idea. “The thought occurred to me that we could do the same to memorialize our parents,” he said.

Together, the Leckrone family created the Dorsey and Sally Leckrone Family Scholarship to support local graduates, particularly from Fremont Public Schools where Dorsey and Sally taught. The scholarship was awarded for the first time this spring, with several family members making the trip back to Newaygo County for the ceremony.

“We want to help a student who may not have the means otherwise to further their education,” said Donald. “We’re paying it forward.”