Life Story / Obituary
The world was blessed with Colleen Ruth Fleeger on October 21st 1953. She was the third child to Francis and Frances Fleeger. When Oma first laid eyes on her new daughter- she exclaimed- This baby is tow-headed and could not be hers. Colleen indeed was a blonde beauty from birth but there was no denying she was a Fleeger. At a very young age her fierce independence and courage was first glimpsed when she packed up her wagon and proclaimed she was moving out. She was unhappy with something and was getting out of there. Her family looked on smiling. Her blonde curls bouncing and a stubbornness written on her face that would surface whenever she needed it throughout her lifetime.
As a teenager Colleen graduated from Union High School. It was during these years she met and fell in love with her future husband, Jeffrey Scott Secord. They were married and welcomed first a boy, Jeffrey Ellers Secord. Six years later a beautiful baby girl joined their family, Jamie Lyn May Secord. Jeff and Colleen lovingly raised their children with help from their families. Family was always important to Colleen. She also loved nature and being outside. Family camping trips and hunting in the winter built lasting family memories for Colleen, Jeff, and their children. Going “Up North” meant something to Colleen. It was her favorite place to be.
Colleen and Jeff built a home that had an open door to all. Colleen was MOM to anyone who walked through the door. Everyone was welcome. If you were going through a hard time, she accepted you. If you did not belong anywhere else, Colleen would welcome you with open arms. She also knew how to have fun! Friends were family to Colleen and she accepted everyone. Yes she would get mad. She had a temper but she was forgiving. If you made a mistake, well that was life and moving forward was all that mattered.
Colleen had a special place in her heart for the unloved. This not only extended to people but animals as well. Colleen loved animals. All of the family pets she could get as a child she would care for. When she had her own home she filled her home with animals and plants. She loved to have her home filled with plants, animals, and people. She loved it all.
In the beginning of the 90’s, Colleen got to fulfill her dream of moving “Up North”. Colleen, Jeff, and Jamie moved to Howard City. There were struggles- but making the best of what she had was a gift Colleen possessed. She once made magic chicken in the microwave. We felt like kings and queens to eat it, even though she had scrimped and scraped to make a simple meal for her family. She was happy to see us enjoying it. She would smile and laugh as we created messes with food fights. She knew we were making memories. It was a simple life, but one she enjoyed and it made her happy to be there, “up north” until the end of her life. After 22 years of marriage Jeff and Colleen decided to separate and divorce. The love remained strong between them and their friendship never ended.
Colleen remained in Howard City alone. She met Karl Harmon and together they developed a special relationship that no one but them understood. Although they never married,they loved each other unconditionally. Karl and Colleen shared many years together. Their relationship evolved over the years and they took care of each other. Together they always made their “children” a priority. Their animal family changed throughout their years together but the cats that call their house a home are some of the luckiest spoiled cats in the world.
Colleen again made her home into an escape for others. You could go to her home to stay as long as you needed til you returned to being able to face the world. It could be hours, days, or weeks. It was very near impossible to wear out your welcome in her home. She loved family to come up for bonfires, go to the swimming hole, catch some fish. Grandkids loved going to her home. They would head outside and by time food was ready, they would be covered in dirt and full of happiness. If she knew you were coming you knew she would have thought of something special, just for you. Popsicles, chips, whatever it may be, it was somehow EXACTLY what you wanted.
To all that loved her, the world is emptier without her in it. Communication was always important to her. Phone calls, and later when the cancer stole her voice, text messages. You would expect to hear from her on your birthday, or any special day. She would send cards with cash or depending on your age, lottery tickets for your birthday. She never forgot about anyone. Even if she could not afford it, she would do it. It was important to her that no one get left out of anything ever. She has instilled these qualities in both of her children who she was so very proud of. Colleen was diagnosed with throat cancer. She fought it and fully beat it-TWICE. This took so much courage. The first battle with cancer left her beaten up. Upon the second diagnosis- she was unsure if she wanted to treat it again. However hearing the news about the upcoming arrival - her FIRST great grandchild. She told cancer to wait- and beat it again. She had to see that baby born. The birth of Kinsley Dreyer gave us all more time with Colleen. The cancer returned and although she did not go through the standard treatment, there were alternate therapies that she tried. She did not want more time for her, she knew everyone that loved her needed the time.
Colleen passed on March 3rd 2019. She went too soon for those that loved her, although we are so very thankful for the time that we had. She was surrounded by those that love her and will help to carry on her legacy of kindness. Colleen was preceded in death by both of her parents Francis and Frances Fleeger, her sister - Lois Homrich, and her husband Jeffrey Scott Secord.
Colleen’s memory will live on forever in the loved ones she left behind. Karl Harmon her special friend that cared for her and helped her through her illnesses and was by her side for over 20 years. Her children, Jeff (Gloria) Secord, and Jamie (Rich) St.Arnold. Her ten amazing grandchildren, Neva (Mike) Dreyer, Shauna Waidelich, Corey (Sarah) Gunderson, Natasha St.Arnold, Joseph Secord, RJ St.Arnold, JJ Secord, Christian St.Arnold, Jacob Secord, and Gabriel Secord. Two beautiful great grandchildren, Kinsley Dreyer, and Matthew Gunderson as well as two on the way. Siblings, Linda (Dave) Borck, Mary (Harold) Hamilton, Roger Fleeger, and brother in law Larry Homrich.
Colleen taught us all to accept everyone, not to hold grudges, and that family means everything and family does not have to be blood. Sometimes these things are hard to live day by day. She did it throughout her life. Material things never mattered to her. It was always who she had not what she had. Her impact was huge and it is important that we carry on these things for her.