Leona Esther Allen Ward died Jan. 27, 2014 at her residence at Foxdale Village in State College, Pa. where she and Samuel A. Ward, her surviving husband of 68 years have lived since 1997.
She is survived by her two children, Elaine D. Ward, of Queens, N.Y., Raymond A. Ward, of Dunstable, Mass.; and her brother-in-law, Raymond B. Ward and his family of Waverly, N.Y. She is also survived by her nephews and a niece who are the sons and daughter of her late sister and brother-in-law, Louise and Albert Woleslagle who are Allen, Duane, Gary and Joann Wright and their spouses, children and grandchildren, all of Pennsylvania. Also surviving Leona Ward are her Madigan family cousins and their families including Janice Kennedy, Geneveive Corwin, Charles, Mylen, Leila Kilmer and the families of the late Clifton Madigan, Marjorie Lombardy, Hope Madigan, Carlton Guild and Michael Madigan.
Leona was born on May 27, 1924 to Glenn and Elizabeth Madigan Allen on a farm in the Mountain Lake area of Bradford County, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Troy High School in 1942. In 1945 Leona completed Nurses Training at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. She married Samuel Ward in 1946. Leona became a Head Nurse in an OB GYN hospital while Sam completed graduate school at Cornell. She received her undergraduate nursing degree from Rutgers in 1953. A daughter, Elaine was born in 1954; a son, Raymond, in 1958.
In the mid-sixties, Leona went back to work full time as a kindergarten teacher at a public school in Ridgefield, Conn. She earned a Master's Degree in Elementary Education at Western Conn State College in Danbury, Conn. She taught first and second grade in New Canaan and Byram, Conn. in the late 1960s and 1970s.
When Sam's job took them to Carlsbad, Calif., Leona became a reading specialist. She taught reading to children in California. She taught reading in Massachusetts when they returned to the east coast. She and Sam took a trip around the world when they retired.
Leona loved animals, birdsongs, wildflowers, wildlife, other people's pets and her family. She was a talented self-taught seamstress and sewed for everyone in the family including herself. She knitted, crocheted and quilted. Her other pastimes were water color painting, gardening and reading. She loved helping people, especially children. She traveled to many places including Alaska, Arizona, Ireland and New York City with Elder Hostels. Leona and Sam were lifelong Unitarians.
In her early years at Foxdale she could be found in the art room, at a singing practice, or as a volunteer at the information desk or with Sam in her favorite easy chair. She was part of the helpline for residents and was active in some of the committee meetings and choral programs that keep the Foxdale community lively.
A memorial service will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at the Foxdale Auditorium, Foxdale Village, 500 East Marilyn Ave., State College, PA 16801, with a reception to follow from 3 to 4 p.m. All those who wish to attend are invited.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com