When I think about some of my happiest memories of being a kid, I immediately think of my Aunt Leatha. I remember her teaching my how to play the game Mancala at my birthday party. I remember watching King Kong with her, then helping her set the kids table at my Grandama and Grandpas house on Thanksgiving. And of course, I remember going to the yearly Christmas Eve party, the pile of shoes in the kitchen, her fixing me a beef on weck and sitting with her in the dining room asking about her bear collection. These are memories I’ll cherish forever. My condolences to my Uncle Tom and Cousin Ian, and to all that loved her. Rest In Peace Aunt Leatha.
I first met Leatha upon my employment with the county. From the start I witnessed her attention to detail, organizational skills and the beautiful handwriting I so admired! As I grew to know her better, I found there was so much more to Leatha, she was strong willed, knew what she believed and how to tactfully relay her opinions.
Leatha you were always an inspiration to me. You will be missed by many and I will always remember you with fondness. My condolences to Tom, Ian and your entire family for their tremendous loss.
My fondest memory of Leatha was in the Fall of 1969. I stopped at Newberry's after school and I ran into Leatha. She was buying a Simplicity dress pattern and some floral cotton cloth. The next day was Senior Class Night. Leatha entered the room in the beautiful dress she had sewn the night before. The dress was prettier than one you could buy at Landauer's. I always admired Leatha for her intelligence and her quiet strength of character. RIP, Leatha.
Some of my most cherished memories from when I was younger are of my family and I going to visit my Uncle Tom and Aunt Leatha after Christmas Eve mass for their annual Christmas party. Even moreso than opening presents on Christmas morning, all year round I looked forward to spending time with my Aunt and Uncle, who were so kind, and funny, and loving, and so warm to be around.
I was too young to understand at the time that she was battling MS, but now that I am older I can look back and see what a strong person my Aunt was. I will cherish the memories I have of her forever, and am so thankful that I had her in my life. My condolences to my Uncle Tom and cousin Ian, and I hope that she rests in peace forever.
Leatha, you were the perfect life-partner for my brother Tom, and he was the perfect life-partner for you. I always admired and respected how much the two of loved one another for all these years! I also admired how bravely you dealt with MS for seemingly forever. I’ll always remember and cherish the holiday dinners we shared over the years, and Christmas Eve at your home on State Street years ago. The kids still talk about those happy memories. You are greatly missed by my whole family.
I will share one funny story. When Leatha and Tom lived over Bloom’s Flower Shop, I got a call to come over and help get rid of a mouse that had infiltrated their apartment. As I recall, when I arrived, the mouse (of the four of us) was the least afraid by far. I tried to vanquish the terrifying rodent using the instrument that anyone with an ounce of sense would choose - a sponge mop! Needless to say, we alternated between laughing and screaming in terror as the mouse eluded extermination. After what seemed like an eternity, the mouse escaped down a register. My services for similar problems were never called upon again.
My condolences and love to my brother Tom and nephew Ian.
Leatha and I were friends for about 30 years. She was as comfortable with herself as any person I’ve known. She had a way of cutting through the baloney of life that made me smile (even when she was artfully skewering me). She spoke her mind, and what a fine mind it was, full of frankness, humor, pithy wisdom and wry insight about living, loving and putting up with all that baloney.
Since she didn’t live nearby, ours was mostly a friendship conducted through the mail. I still have those letters, 30 years’ worth. She wrote about the rewards (mostly) and trials (occasionally) of family life, her admiration and enjoyment of Tom, her love of Ian, about traveling and line-dancing with her sisters, and in one letter her recent purchase of a treadmill – she could walk AND read at the same time. She wrote about work, too, and the (sometimes frustrating) state of the State of New York. I feel lucky to have been on the receiving end of this decades-long commentary of life as seen through the Leatha lens.
She offered congratulations when due and advice when I asked for it (and even when I didn’t!). She was a great friend.
I don't know how to pick just one memory. I am so lucky to have so very many to choose from. I guess it was our senior year in college, in our crazy little apartment in Black Rock in Buffalo. She would go over to the Polish grocery store on the opposite corner of our apartment and buy hot dogs and sauerkraut. She would cook those up for her dinner and the smell from the sauerkraut would about gag me. She'd sit and eat with that funny little smile on her face. I ended up discovering years later than I liked sauerkraut and wieners. I saw that smile again the day before she passed away. I was arranging the covers around her head and trying to make her comfortable. She looked up at me with such an expression of love and contentedness. I will never forget that look. She was the best friend I ever had.
I love Tami's tribute letter to Leatha. Many of us have such warm memories of her as do I. My thoughts are with all of you who were so close to her and dearly loved by her. Tom, Ian, and all of her family were blessed by her love for you . . She by yours.
Thanks, Leatha, for the line dancing and basket weaving and calligraphy classes. Thank you for cauliflower soup, banana cake and pink stuff. Thank you for our trips to NYC, Gettysburg, Vermont, mystery weekends, and Prince Edward Island-home of Anne of Green Gables. Thank you for all your letters to me and to others when they needed them the most. And thank you, Leatha, for teaching me to read and love books, too. Aloha, big sister. Tami-Rose
I am so sorry to learn of Leatha’s passing. She was a great supervisor at DSS. I know many days she was suffering, but never complained. My prayers go out for comfort for Tom and all of her family. Lois Wangerin Klatt
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