Verel Edward ‘Red’ Leair
Verel “Red” Leair, age 94, passed away at his home in Waukesha on June 18, 2016. Born in Iowa on April 24, 1922, he was the third of 16 children born to Elsie and Albert Leair.
Red spent most of his life in Waukesha where he could often be seen riding his bicycle around the city, along the Fox River and exploring garage sales. He worked as a tool and die maker with General Casting in Waukesha, where he was an active member of the union and served as union president. Adept at repairing and creating items from bits of scrap that he collected, he was a master at repurposing long before it became fashionable.
He was a member of Waukesha Bowman. An avid sportsman, every season provided an opportunity to use a gun, bow and arrow or rod and reel. His passion for fishing and hunting included pan fish, salmon, small game, birds, elk, bear, moose, Whitetail deer, and at the age of 84 he realized a lifelong dream of an African safari that yielded a Cape Water Buffalo. He was quite a cook as well since nearly all of the game and fish bagged or caught found its way to his dinner plate.
A learner, teacher and extraordinary storyteller he took delight in talking with friends and strangers alike. He also enjoyed playing poker from time to time.
Red was preceded in death by both his wife Bette (nee Bahr) in 1962 and his wife Janice (nee Eales) in 2011 and his daughter Connie McNabb.
He will be sadly missed and joyfully remembered by children Diane (Milton) Bartelme of Franklin, Michael (Roxann) Leair of Harshaw, Audrey Leair of Milwaukee, Vicki (Jeff) Koehn of Oconomowoc and Gale (Dennis Kaiser) Leair-Kaiser of Tucson, Ariz.; grandchildren Christopher McNabb, Amy McNabb, Nicole (Louis) Dyer, Melissa Bartelme, Michelle (Christopher) Hicks, Nicholas Leair, Sarah (Michael) Homan, Michael Ray Leair, Timothy Leair, Teddiann Leair, Joshua Starszak, Jeremiah Starszak and Reed Kaiser; 11 great-grandchildren; special friends Cordell Hull, Joe Gates and family, Linda and Mike Nivinski; neighbors Dave, Mike and Maggie; and a whole host of others too numerous to mention by name.
A private family gathering was held to celebrate and remember Red’s incredible life and legacy.