Lee Isenhart Passes

October 15, 2011

Midland, MI


Isenhart leaves legacy of passion for fastpitch softball
Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2011 7:00 am
Known as an enthusiastic man who knew how to make things happen, Lee Isenhart had a passion for the game of fastpitch softball in Midland and beyond.
Isenhart, who died Thursday at age 79 after a long illness, was one of the founders of the Midland Explorers' men's fastpitch softball program and for the past 20 years was the Michigan commissioner of the International Softball Congress, the governing body of fastpitch.
"He's pretty synonymous with the Explorers," said Kyle Beane, who has played for the team since 1996, which was the year he first met Isenhart. "If it wasn't for him, it certainly wouldn't be the team that it is today, carrying on after almost 25 years. ... There wouldn't be an Explorers without Lee."
Isenhart, along with Lefty Bartos and others, helped to found the Explorers -- a team that competes at the highest level of fastpitch -- in 1986. For many years Isenhart was also the president of the Explorers' Booster Club, which raises funds for the team and which also oversees the Lady Explorers, a girls' travel softball program.
Isenhart, a former fastpitch player himself, was also part of the committee that brought the ISC World Tournament to Midland in 2010 for the first time. The tournament is also scheduled to be held in Midland again next year.
"He was certainly the driving force in getting the tournament here last year," said Jack Starling, a longtime former fastpitch player who was also involved with the Explorers.
Beane said Isenhart was involved with every aspect of the team.
"There was a number of years when Lee traveled to every tournament," Beane said. "Whether it was organizing umpires, getting the game balls, helping shut down the park at night, Lee did it all. And we're going to miss him immensely. ... He was as much a part of the team as any of the players."
One of Isenhart's sons, Eric, was a standout player for the Explorers for several years in the 1980s and '90s.
Nels Cronkright, a former fastpitch player and longtime softball and baseball supporter in Midland, said Isenhart was an ambassador for the game of fastpitch and was content to work in the background.
"He was a terrific guy that didn't want any accolades," Cronkright said. "He was happy to just stay in the background and get things done."



Lee Isenhart long time ISC commissioner passed away tonight (Thursday Oct
13th ) at 8:50, There will be a service this coming Sunday afternoon in
Midland, Michigan

Viewing is Sunday at 5-7 pm and a small service at 7 if you can pass this

Ware-Smith Funeral Home
1200 West Wheeler St
Midland, Michigan






Leland (Ike) Richard Isenhart, 79, of Midland, passed on Thursday, October 13th, 2011, after battling a lengthy illness.

Lee was born August 6, 1932, in Edmore, MI, where he spent his early years before meeting the love of his life, Mary Jane Slusher. They married on June 20, 1953. He started his 39 year career at Dow Corning Corporation as a pipe fitter welder in 1950. Ike retired in 1989 to the golf course and ball diamonds.
He served in the United States Navy, receiving an honorable discharge in 1959.

Lee loved art and was an avid bowler, golfer and softball player. He was the long time Midland Explorers President and ISC Commissioner. Ike was elected to The Midland Bowling Hall of fame in 1979.

Lee was the beloved husband of Mary Jane. Brother to Charlene (Gil) Rosin of Midland. Loving father of Deborah (Kelly) Winters of Berkley MI., Cheryl Hamilton of Atlantic Beach, NC, Roger Isenhart of Midland, Eric (Kathy) Isenhart of Dearborn Heights, MI, and Glenn Isenhart of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Loving grandpa of Keane (Eric) Peddy of Mt Clemens, Jamie (Nick) Collins of Ferndale, Adam (Kelly) Hamilton of Midland, Chantel (Evan) Anstine of Havelock, NC., Zane Isenhart of Midland and Danelle Isenhart of Midland. Also his special great-grandkids Alyssa and Danica Peddy, Molly and Melanie Collins, Nolan Anstine and Alexa Hamilton.

Funeral services will take place at 7 pm, Sunday, October 16, 2011 at the Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Chapel, 1200 W. Wheeler Street with Rev. Lisa McIlvenna of the First United Methodist Church officiating.

Lee’s family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 5 pm until time of services. Military honors will be presented by the Midland Area Veterans.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider the Toni & Trish House, PO Box 125, Auburn MI 48611, or MidMichigan Home Care (Hospice), 3007 N. Saginaw Rd., Midland MI 48640.


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