Irene Leonardo (1933 - 2018)

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Irene Leonardo
MAR. 8, 1933 - DEC. 22, 2018
Irene Leonardo was born on March 8, 1933 to Joseph and Mary Sousa in Sonoma, CA, Irene was raised on the family dairy farm and attended Sonoma High School. While visiting family on the Island of Sao Jorge in 1948, Irene met Gregorio Francisco Leonardo. Irene and Gregorio courted and were married. Irene returned to Sonoma County and 11 months later her new husband joined her. Together, they moved to Marin County and Gregorio began his career in the dairy business where he became a respected dairyman. Irene also began her career as Gregorio's wife and homemaker as well as loving mother to their 5 children Daniel, Larry, David, Natalie, and Joseph.
Irene and Gregorio became partners in the late 1950's with John Soares and Sons of San Jose, CA. In 1974 the family farm was moved from Gilroy to Dos Palos, CA. Irene and Gregorio enjoyed cruises with their dairy industry partners and friends, visiting, Mexico, Alaska, Tahiti and the Caribbean. In the 1980's Gregorio was diagnosed with cancer and bravely fought for his life until October of 2000. After losing her husband of 52 years it was evident that Irene longed for and needed companionship. Her children tried to fill the void by giving her a 9 week old Chihuahua, whom she named Chloe. Irene found comfort spending time with Chloe by taking her on trips to the coast, for walks around her neighborhood and watching home improvement shows and baking competitions with her faithful companion of 15 years on her lap.
Irene had transitioned into a stage in life where she was in need of 24 hour care. She had wonderful care takers who she loved and greatly appreciated and they felt the same toward her. Irene loved her family and friends. In her last few years as medical and physical challenges presented themselves, Irene remained a fighter; it was her wish to remain in her Los Banos home. On Dec. 22, 2018 the Lord called Irene Sousa Leonardo to her eternal home, at age 85.
Irene is preceded in death by her husband, Gregorio Francisco Leonardo, her parents Joseph and Mary Sousa, and two sisters Rosie and Helen.
She is survived by her children: Daniel (Lucilla) Leonardo of Gilroy, Larry Sr. (Pat) Leonardo of Los Banos, David Sr. (Teresa) Leonardo of Hollister, Natalie (John) Nixon of Las Vegas and Joseph (Carmen) Leonardo of Los Banos; grandchildren: Jeffery, Shannon, Larry Jr., Leonard (Jennifer), Brandon (Chandra), Melisa (Dominic), David Jr., Sean (Jennie) and Ryan; great grandchildren: Taylor, Alice, Carissa, Eisley, and Kyla.
Contributions can be made to Gifts of Gratitude, Memorial Hospital Los Banos Foundation, 520 West I Street, Los Banos, CA 93635.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Whitehurst Funeral Chapel of Los Banos from 5:00-7:00 p.m.; Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Whitehurst Funeral Chapel; burial will follow at the Los Banos Cemetery District. Celebration of Life to follow at New Beginnings Church, 821 West L Street, Los Banos, CA 93635

Funeral Home
Whitehurst Funeral Chapels Inc
1840 S Center Ave
Los Banos, CA 93635
(209) 826-4242
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Published in the Modesto Bee from Jan. 5 to Jan. 11, 2019