Leona Mae Fagerness Leona Mae Fagerness passed away peacefully on August 7, 2014. She was born July 30, 1920 in Centralia, WA to parents John and Lena O'Connor and spent her entire life in the Lewis-Thurston County area. Leona graduated from Centralia High School in 1936 and subsequently attended Centralia Business College. During the years of World War II she lived and worked on the family farm in the Skookumchuck Valley to help ease the workload due to so many young men being sent to war. Following the war, her future husband, George Fagerness, came home and they were married on April 28, 1946. They made their home in Rochester where Leona was an integral part of the family farming and logging business. In 1961 Leona began working part-time for the Washington State Employment Security Department and in 1964 she started a full-time career with the Washington State Department of Game from which she retired in 1977. Leona was a very community-minded lady who served as a 4-H leader and PTA president. While living in Rochester she was an active member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church and later Immanuel Lutheran Church. She was a member of the Grand Mound Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Lions Club, the Grand Mound-Rochester Citizens Group, and the American Legion Women's Auxiliary. In 1999 she served as Grand Marshall of the Swede Day Parade. She also enjoyed her beloved pinochle card group and changing irrigation pipe on the family farm. Leona and her husband George were instrumental in establishing the Rochester Water Association. They donated land and countless hours of time to help build a water system for the Rochester community. A strong and determined person to the very end, she will be truly missed by her daughter, Bette Hall of Olympia and granddaughters, Kendra and Lindsey Hall of Seattle; her son, Larry Fagerness (Judy) and grandchildren, Blair and Drew Fagerness of Centralia and Riki and Rissa Smart of Seattle. She is predeceased by her husband, George who died in 1970 and brothers, Harold, Cliff and Tim O'Connor. Following a private family graveside service, a Celebration of Life will be held on August 23, 2014 at 12:00 noon at Great Wolf Lodge located at Grand Mound. In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be sent to the Grand Mound-Rochester Citizens Group, P 0 Box 194, Rochester, WA 98579. Leona's family wants to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the staff at Logan Street Manor for the wonderful care she received while residing there.
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Published in The Olympian on Aug. 17, 2014