Leona, 96 years old, passed away peacefully while residing in her daughter Frosine's San Diego home on August 9, 2013. Born April 18, 1917, in Pasadena, CA, she is the daughter of Estelle Geistweit and Arnold Ziedses des Plantes.
As a young mother of four, Leona provided a home for several foster children in addition to her own. Oftentimes there would be 14 children around the dining table. She attended the University of Southern California and pursued a career as owner/administrator of a psychiatric clinic near Los Angeles.
Retiring in 1986, she moved to the Seven Oaks community in Rancho Bernardo, CA. Leona lovingly donated countless hours of community service through the years. Artistic, cultured and well-traveled, Leona sat on the Advisory Board for the Poway Performing Arts Center and was Secretary and President of Bernardo Concert Association at the Poway Performing Arts Center. Her contributions also included serving as President of the Rancho Bernardo Playgoers; President and Program Chairperson of Rancho Bernardo Travelers; and President of the Seven Oaks Board of Directors. She was an active volunteer for Friends of the Rancho Bernardo Library, a member of CEC (Continuing Education Center) and Neighborhood Watch Captain.
Leona's love of art and gardening was expressed in the countless floral arrangements she created for the Seven Oaks Community Center and Poway Performing Arts Center. She also blessed her family with treasured scrapbooks, photo albums and cherished hand crocheted pieces. In love with the outdoors, she is known for her beautiful gardens at Seven Oaks and at the Remington Club, where she resided for approximately three years.
What can we say about Leona? She loved life to its fullest with unending generosity. To know her was to love her. She was an inspiration and a "breath of fresh air" with smiles and hugs for everyone. Her gentle spirit and loving nature touched all who knew her, especially her family. She will be remembered enjoying music, gardening, crocheting, arranging flowers and walking her beloved little dog, Perky.
Leona was predeceased by husbands, Casimer (Larry) Ratkoviak and Joseph C. Janis. She is survived by children, Frosine (Howard) Jackson, Eugene Ratkoviak, Lauren (Terri) Ratkoviak and Elizabeth(Glenn) Gessay; 9 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, Peter Winther of Point Loma; and numerous nieces and nephews.
An intimate graveside memorial service will be held Friday, August 23, 2013, at 11:00 AM at Greenwood Memorial Park and Mortuary, 4300 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA, (619-264-3131).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Seven Oaks Community Center, 16789 Bernardo Oaks Drive, San Diego, CA 92128, to enhance and support the entity which Leona loved and was so involved.