State award honoree, 75, dies

Michael `Bud' Leister, longtime volunteer at farm museum

`We have a giant loss'


November 07, 2001|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Michael D. "Bud" Leister Jr., a longtime volunteer at Carroll County Farm Museum, died 11 days before he was to be honored as one of Maryland's Most Beautiful People at an Annapolis ceremony.

Services for Mr. Leister will be held at 11 a.m. today at First United Presbyterian Church in Westminster. Mr. Leister, 75, died Saturday at his Millers home after an illness.

Mr. Leister's grandchildren, Matthew and Christine Leister, will accept the award, which honors volunteers from Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City, on behalf of their grandfather. Mr. Leister was chosen last month as Carroll County's recipient for the state program from a field of 22 nominees.

"He really put up a good fight to make it to [the ceremony] next week," said Jolene Sullivan, director of the Department of Citizen Services, which handles the county's Most Beautiful People awards program. "But at least he was acknowledged by the county, so that was something special."

Dottie Freeman, executive director of the farm museum in Westminster, where Mr. Leister had been a volunteer for 20 years, nominated him for the award. Carroll officials honored Mr. Leister last month at a breakfast ceremony at the farm museum's reception barn.

"We have a giant loss at the farm museum," Ms. Freeman said yesterday. "He was not only a volunteer, but a friend. He was the farm museum's tinsmith. He was always there when the schoolchildren visited and loved having the kids watch and learn from him."

Ms. Freeman said Mr. Leister created a replica of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, complete with a heart painted on it by his wife, Vera. The figure, Ms. Freeman said, will "remain forever in the tinsmith shop as a tribute to Leister." A plaque will be added.

Mr. Leister had been a blacksmith before his health forced him to give that up. He turned to tinsmithing five or six years ago, Ms. Freeman said.

"He was very instrumental in promoting blacksmithing," Ms. Freeman said. "When he went to tinsmithing, he took classes here at the farm museum."

Later, he became the master, with several apprentices. He was featured recently in Southern Living for his tinsmith works.

His wife, who died last year, also was a longtime volunteer at the museum as a farmhouse tour guide, Ms. Freeman said.

The Rev. Walt Peters will officiate at the services at First United Presbyterian, 65 Washington Road, Westminster. Interment will be private.

Survivors include two sons, Michael D. Leister III of Magnolia, Del., and M. Dean Leister of Millers; a stepbrother, Arthur Harley of Northtown, Pa.; and four grandchildren.

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