Obituaries — 24 January 2018
Leona Church – December 27, 1937 – January 17, 2018

Leona Church – December 27, 1937 – January 17, 2018

It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Leona Church in Thunder Bay on January 17th, 2018 with her loved ones by her side.

Leona was born in Carmen, Manitoba on December 27th, 1937 to Charlie and Agatha Smith, where she lived briefly before making Dryden her home a year later.  She attended Albert Street elementary school and went on to high school in Dryden.

Leona married Gordon Church in 1956 and they started their family shortly after.  They had four children and bought their first home on Morton Road in 1962.  One of Leona’s proudest accomplishments was her children and always loved their large family gatherings.  She would be in the kitchen for hours preparing everyone’s favourite dishes.       

Throughout the years, Leona held a variety of jobs.  Following a waitress job early in life, she enjoyed tree planting and would put the younger planters to shame, until the work became too strenuous.  Finally, Leona took a job with Canadian Tire in the warehouse, where she remained happily until retirement.  

Even in retirement, she didn’t slow down, spending countless hours volunteering with Community Integration Services where she always looked forward to the local events she would attend with Colleen Gardiner.  Leona also enjoyed crafting whatever project was on the table or working on her crochet.  An incredibly loyal friend, Leona loved her time spent with Irene McGogy which often involved visiting over a game of crib.   In more recent years she remained active, spending her time participating in bowling, darts, and shuffle board.  Leona took part in the senior games throughout the area and even proudly represented Northwestern Ontario in the 55+ Senior Games.  

Always an active member in the First United Church, Leona began her time teaching Sunday school for the children and held the position as superintendent for many years.  She served the church in many capacities and would never hesitate to whip up a batch of cookies or volunteer her time at various Church events.

Leona and her sister Marlene enjoyed many trips together, visiting Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, the Maritimes and a bus tour through much of the United States.  Leona enjoyed her trips to BC to visit her sister Denie and the time she spent every summer at Marlene’s cabin in Ignace.  

Leona loved spending time with her family and it was very rare for her to miss an event that involved her grandchildren.  From the seats of the arena to the bleachers of the gym, soccer field or baseball diamond, she could be found cheering on any one of her grandchildren.  She was recently thrilled to be named #1 Fan; an honour that couldn’t be more true. 

Leona will be missed by her four children, Ross (Kandi) and Brad (Michelle) of Dryden, Marg of Winnipeg and Lois (Gord) Tourond of Vermillion Bay, along with her eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  Leona leaves behind her loving sister Marlene McNabb of Winnipeg and brother Douglas (Donna) Smith of Dryden, as well as many other relatives and friends.  She was predeceased by her parents Charlie and Agatha Smith, her sister Denie Smith and special friend Orise Langlais.  

A Memorial Funeral Service to celebrate Leona’s life will be held on Friday, January 26th, 2018 at 1:00 pm in First United Church with Rev. Erin McIntyre officiating.  Interment will follow at a later date.

If friends so desire, donations can be made in Leona’s memory to the DRHC CT Scan Fund or First United Church through Stevens Funeral Homes, P.O. Box 412, Dryden, Ontario, P8N 2Z1. Condolences may be posted at www.stevensfuneralhomes.ca

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Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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