Leona Mildred (Van Deventer) DanforthApril 2, 1926 ~ November 25, 2017 (age 91)
Leona Mildred VanDeventer Danforth passed away on November 25, 2017, at Grandvue Medical Care Facility in East Jordan, Michigan.
Leona was born April 2, 1926, in Echo Township, Antrim County to Hazel May (Morrison) and William Leroy VanDeventer. She graduated from East Jordan High School in 1945 and married her high school sweetheart Lee C. Danforth, Jr. in 1947. The couple had 8 children: Sharon (Kevin) Gardner of East Jordan; Roger (Nancy Bruin) Danforth of East Jordan; Nancy (Jack) Zoulek of Wickenburg, AZ; Marilyn (Michael) Pienta of Temperance, MI; Debra (Keith) Peters of Wittmann, AZ; Thomas Danforth of Phoenix, AZ; Randall (Jane Bingham) Danforth of East Jordan; and Brenda Owen of Phoenix, AZ followed by 23 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.
Leona is survived by all 8 children, 23 grandchildren, and 28 great grandchildren, along with 3 sisters; Doris (Richard) Wieland of Englewood, Florida; Arlene Wright of Grand Rapids, and Hilda Carr of Camrillo, California. She was proceded in death by her husband Lee Danforth and sister Elzina Pearl.
Leona was a homemaker, wife, mother, and entrepeneur. Working by her husband’s side, she raised 8 children, and was a bookkeeper for the family business of Lee’s Leonard Service and the Avon Lady in Wyoming. She lived in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Arizona; returning to Michigan in 2014.
Growing up in the Great Depression on a farm in Antrim County, Leona learned not only life lessons, but skills and hobbies that became her joy along with her extended family. Leona enjoyed gardening, and used this to become an expert canner and pickler. She began cooking and sewing when she lost her mother at age 17. Known for her famous cinnamon rolls and pineapple squares, Leona perfected baking and cooking that she frequently shared with family and friends. So many quilts, afghans, mittens, dresses, and outfits were hand made for her children and grandchildren. Those who called her “Mom” came home to fresh baked goods and homemade meals. Those who called her “Grandma” were openly welcomed to stay as long as needed to play, eat, and feel important. Leona had a warm smile and helpful nature. She taught her family by example to care about others and to work hard.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 1:00 P.M. at the Penzien Funeral Homes, Inc. in East Jordan.
The family will receive friends on Friday, December 1, 2017 from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Grandvue Medical Care Facility.
Grandvue Medical Care Facility
1728 S Peninsula Road, East Jordan MI 49727