Leona Marie Heilman
Leona (Lee) Marie Heilman's life story is one of love, family, and passion. Born on September 21, 1929, in Denver, Colorado, she entered the world 15 minutes after her twin brother, Earl. She shared her distinctive copper red hair with her older brother, James. Lee's vibrant spirit marked her 90 years of life until her passing on October 14, 2019.
Married to her loving husband, Don, for an incredible 68 years, they cherished a unique connection sealed by "smooches" each morning and night. Family bonds held great significance for Lee, living near her son, Al, and his wife, Elizabeth. She took immense pride in Al's art, which surrounded her in her home. Her joy extended to her two granddaughters and three great-granddaughters. She celebrated every moment with Rebecca and Daniel Davison, along with their daughters Eve and Hadley, as well as Elizabeth and Mark Greenburg, and their daughter Frances, who remarkably shared her great-grandmother's red hair. A new grandson's imminent arrival brought excitement to Lee's later years.
Lee's educational journey led her to South High School in Denver, where she graduated among a notable number of twins. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado State University (formerly Colorado A&M) and a Masters degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. During college, she hosted her own radio show and conducted research for the Betty Crocker Company on the effects of high altitude on Bisquick.
Lee's career in education was notable, including her tenure as a home economics teacher at DeKalb High School, where she pioneered a Food Service Curriculum. Later, both Lee and Don taught at Northern Illinois University. Her dedication to community service was demonstrated through her involvement with the philanthropic organization P.E.O., promoting women's advancement and supporting education.
Nature, flower gardens, and creative pursuits were Lee's passions. She innovatively crafted Panoramic Easter Eggs from sugar to fund her husband's education. Needlepointing was her lifelong joy, fostering deep friendships. In her 80s, she painted Disney pillows for donation to The Children's Hospital in the Woodlands. Her final creations were whimsical pink flamingo birdhouses.
Lee's effervescent spirit, mischievous charm, and boundless sense of fun endeared her to everyone she encountered. Her impact is evident through the close-knit community she fostered in Windsor Hills, The Woodlands, TX. While she is greatly missed, her legacy of love, family, and creativity continues to shine brightly.
We will miss you.