With heavy hearts, we say farewell to Leona - an amazing lady who was our Mother, Sister, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and a friend to many.
Leona was born on March 27th, 1934, the second of 16 children in the Rolheiser household, and the first daughter for George and Mathilda. She grew up in St. Donatus, attended Panama School, and worked as a nurse's assistant at St. Joseph's Hospital in Macklin until she married Dave Sieben in 1957.
Leona passed away after a battle with cancer on December 7th, 2020, at Provost hospital. She spent the last 18 days of her life at home in her "happy place" in her house in Salvador. Over almost 50 years, she raised her family in that house, babysat numerous other children from the area, and managed a rural post office (literally out of a converted sunporch).
With the untimely passing of both her parents within 3 months of each other, Leona became the matriarch for the large Rolheiser clan at the age of 36. She fulfilled this role with gusto, hosting annual Christmas feasts for any of her siblings, their families (and tag-alongs) who wanted to attend. There were Christmases when that tiny house in Salvador had almost 50 people in it, eating, playing Canasta and Buck, and making memories. It was often times pure mayhem, but she (and we) all cherished those blessed family gatherings.
Leona was notorious for her quick wit and her keen memory... her younger siblings said that she was "one of the smart ones" (and there was lots of competition for that title in a group of 16). She was an avid reader, a crossword puzzle junkie, and an amazing cook (who could literally make a feast from nothing). Gardening was her passion, and she waited for the Early's seed catalogue every winter to plan her spring plantings. We all benefited from her harvests.
Leona was a good friend to many, and she enjoyed company and conversation. She was always up for a game of cribbage, a round of Scrabble, or a chat over a cup of tea or a glass of brandy (and a smoke). She knitted and crocheted for years, and her homemade slippers were special gifts for many.
Leona loved children, and they loved her. She was in much demand as a babysitter for many local families, and helped raise more children than her own 7. As our family expanded, she was so happy and proud to be a Grandma and Great Grandma, and treasured her time with the kids, "making memories".
Left behind to cherish Leona's memory are her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Rick and Kandy (Amber), Marilyn and Glenn (Shelby & Tom, Cierra, Austin), Maureen and Bryan, Chris and Serena (Devon & Morgan, Joel & Maren), Darren and Wendi (Brittany & Tyson/Alexys & Arwyn; Blayze & Kayce/Lewis; and Landyn),
Leona is predeceased by her husband Dave, her son Dave Jr., her daughter Audrey, her brothers Edwin, Fred and Denis, and her sisters Isabel, Helen and Agnes.
Leona's funeral service will be livestreamed on Wednesday, December 16th at 10:30 a.m. from St. Mary's Catholic church in Macklin, with interment at Denzil Sacred Heart Catholic cemetery. the livestream will be available through the Gregory's Funeral Home Facebook page.
No flowers please. Donations made in Leona's name to TeleMiracle will be gratefully accepted.
For a recording of the Zoom Celebration of Life held on December 19th for Leona, lead by Father Ron Rolheiser, use this link: