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Official Obituary of

Richard Dale Leininger

February 25, 1946 ~ March 5, 2024 (age 78) 78 Years Old

Richard Leininger Obituary

Richard Dale Leininger (Midland, MI), a man of indomitable stubbornness and determination, bid farewell to this world on March 5, 2024. He lived a life driven by the relentless pursuit of knowledge and an unparalleled generosity that touched the lives of all who knew him. He passed in comfort and clarity, surrounded by family at 78 years of age.

Richard was delivered in Bloomington, IL to Everett Stanley and Joyce Allene Maesky Leininger. Born with an insatiable curiosity, Richard embarked on a lifelong journey of learning, even after attaining his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD from Michigan State University and working a busy career in higher education as a Professor of Marketing at Saginaw Valley State University for over 30 years. His thirst for knowledge led him down academia, but also into the endless array of hobbies and gadgets that filled his garages. Yes, multiple garages. Whether it was delving into the early days of 1990s home computing or hunting and fishing, Richard pursued his interests with infectious enthusiasm. He delighted in discovering and sharing knowledge, both inside and outside the classroom. He raised two sons, Kevin and Shaun, with former spouse Mary Beth Leininger. Kevin and Shaun both became lifelong technophiles, starting with building computers with Richard in their formative years and they continue in his footsteps on a lifelong journey of learning.

A connoisseur of quirky and dark humor, Richard found joy and honest belly-laughs in shows like Firesign Theatre, Northern Exposure, and Monty Python, as well as the eclectic musical selections of Dr. Demento, who introduced him to the music of "Weird Al" Yankovic.

As a tinkerer and problem solver to his core, Richard was renowned for his ingenuity and resourcefulness. Even in the face of adversity, such as a stroke in 2001 that threatened to permanently immobilize him, he tirelessly pursued both therapy and unconventional solutions. He recovered his mobility and independence and returned to the classroom with the use of a Segway scooter. He turned many student heads zipping around campus on that scooter, refusing to be hindered by limitations.

Richard's generosity was legendary, and he showered loved ones with both thoughtful gifts and quirky foods and gadgets that caught his interest, often delivered in bulk. Several pantries still have giant bags of unusual spices and dry goods hidden in the back, and many lives were also touched by generous gifts in times of hardship, given unexpectedly and without hesitation.

He leaves behind his beloved partner, Carol Nelson-Purkey (Caledonia, MI), who fondly remembers his daily banter and eccentric humor, and his faithful companion, Gilligan, a feline friend who was by his side ever since being rescued from the yard as an orphaned, feral kitten. His sons, Kevin Leininger (Grand Ledge, MI) and Shaun Leininger, and daughter-in-law Brenda Leininger (Holt, MI). His sister, Shirley Splawn (Ware Shoals, SC). His good friend, Richard Zaske (Oshkosh, WI), who he bickered with like a brother and was always known as an uncle to his sons. He was preceded by his brothers, Larry J Leininger (Hudson, IL) and James Leininger (Big Rapids, MI), as well as his parents, Stan and Joyce Leininger (Summerton, SC).

Well-wishes and gifts in honor of Richard's memory can best be expressed by forwarding his generous spirit. In lieu of donations or flowers, he would want us to emulate his kindness by surprising a friend with an unprompted, thoughtful gift, with a bonus if it also embraces the obscure and offbeat as he did in life. Donations of favorite stories and memories of Richard are also welcome. No services for Richard are planned, and the family prefers to convene a private celebration of life at a later date.

Though Richard may no longer walk among us, his legacy of curiosity, resilience, and boundless generosity will continue to inspire all who were fortunate enough to know him. He will be dearly missed but forever remembered.

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