My Mom

Leona Marie Heilman

Born September 21, 1929

Deceased October 14, 2019


Leona (Lee) Marie Heilman was born in Denver, Colorado to Marie and Richard Lawrence on September 21, 1929. She was introduced to the world as a surprise to her parents, 15 minutes after her twin brother, Earl. She also had an older brother James who had red hair. She also had copper red hair, and a passion to match. Lee celebrated her 90th birthday this September. Both of her brothers are deceased.


A loving husband, Don, survives her. They celebrated 68 years of marriage this year and had a special connection, which was, sealed every morning and night with a “smooch”.  Family connections were important to her, and she lived near her son, Al and his wife, Elizabeth. She loved his art, and was surrounded by it in her home. She took great joy in her two granddaughters, and three great granddaughters: Rebecca and Daniel Davison and their daughters Eve and Hadley, and Elizabeth and Mark Greenburg and their daughter Frances. Frances unquestionably resembles her great-grandmother, including her red hair. Lee was excited to hear of a new grandson on the way this March. They had many wonderful times together as a family celebrating birthdays, and holidays and enjoying her granddaughter's sporting events. She always had a flair for fun, often surprising her granddaughters with silly outfits or singing toys. She loved collections, from tea sets to elephants to ceramic Christmas villages, and found joy in sharing her valued treasures with her family. In recent years, she collected stickers for her great-granddaughters' visits.


Lee graduated from South High School in Denver, where there were 23 sets of twins in her high school.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado State University (formerly Colorado A&M) and a Masters degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. 


In college, she hosted her own radio show about campus happenings. She did research on Bisquick for the Betty Crocker Company, exploring on how high altitude changed its performance.  She taught home economics at DeKalb High School for many years, where she pioneered a Food Service Curriculum. Later, Lee and Don taught together at Northern Illinois University. Her Alma Mater, Colorado State University, selected her to receive CSU’s Alumni Association “Outstanding 50 Year Club” in 2003 in recognition of her community service, and the successes she achieved in her industry.


Her community service was further illustrated by her commitment to the women's group P.E.O.  This is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and support women’s friendship.

She was active in chapters located in Dekalb, Illinois and Sugarland, Texas.


She loved nature, and especially her flower gardens. She was an innovator who created Panoramic Easter Eggs from sugar to help fund Don’s education. Learning to needlepoint was a lifelong passion and it was where she met many close friends. Even into her late 80’s, she painted Disney pillows that she donated to The Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands. Her last craft creations were fabulous pink flamingo birdhouses.

She made close bonds wherever she went, and had a great community of friends in Windsor Hills, in the Woodlands, TX. Her mischievous sparkle, generosity of spirit, and sense of fun were ever present. 


She will be missed.