Dorothea (Thea/Oma) Leer

LAURIUM – Dorothea (Thea/Oma) Leer, 74, a resident of Laurium, joined her heavenly family on June 4, 2014.

She was born in Munich, Germany on September 14, 1939 to Babette and Xavier Harrer. She was a proud German who later became an even prouder American citizen.

Thea followed a path of enlightenment at a convent in Munich until her family called her home to help with six additional children – all girls. Her sisters, Erika, Marianne, Elisabeth, Brigette, Renate and Barbl – all still call Bavaria their home.

In 1958, Thea met the love of her life, Robert Eugene Leer, who was in the United States Air Force. It was a courtship of nuances since he spoke little German and she spoke even less English. Though his tour of duty ended in 1959 and he returned to the United States, they remained a committed couple; in 1960 Robert brought his soon-to-be bride to America.

Shortly after her 21st birthday, on September 19, 1960 Robert and Thea married.

She worked hard to become an American, learning a new language by reading comic books and watching TV, always calling the United States her home. In 1965 made it official by passing the U.S. citizenship test.

Robert and Thea remained in the USAF; moving to different bases along the way they built their family and friendships as they went. Their first daughter was born while at Calumet AFB. The next, another daughter, born at Port Austin AFB. Finally, in Okinawa they completed their family with a son.

Thea became a certified nursing assistant and worked at what was then known as Calumet Public Hospital. Later she gave her talents to home nursing. She also volunteered her time at Calumet Elementary Schools. Her hobbies centered around children; she made and donated cheerful pillow cases for children at Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home and Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital.

In 1979, after years of planning to retire their family to Florida after their USAF commitment, Robert and Thea decided to stay where they had been welcomed for many years – the Keweenaw.

Thea became Oma (grandmother) in 1983 and had welcomed children into her heart every day since then.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and three infant children she cherished, Robert, Crystal and Corey.

Surviving Oma are her sisters in Germany; her husband and partner, Robert of Laurium; daughter, Babette (Thomas)Tikkanen of Hancock Township; daughter, Erika (Harold) Erkkila of Laurium; son, D. Scott (Sonja) of Hancock. She is also survived by her treasures – her grandchildren, Michael (Brooke) Leer, Dallas Wade, Cory Jokela (Sarah Gilreath), Christopher and Robert Leer, Terra Erkkila; step-grandsons, Darren (Joni) Erkkila and Jeffrey Erkkila. Her most recent sources of pride, great-grandchildren, Sophie Lucchesi, Nathan Wade and Adelyn Erkkila.

A memorial celebration with the family and friends is set for Saturday from 1 til 3 p.m. in the Erickson-Crowley-Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet.

There is no service at Thea’s request however the family will have a short message before the end of the celebration.

The family will find great comfort in sharing your memories.

You can share condolences and memories at ericksoncrowleypeterson. com.