Leona M. Donovan
1933 - 2020
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Leona M. Donovan

Nov. 17, 1933 - Nov. 19, 2020


Leona “Lee” M. Donovan (Berends), beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, aunt, and friend passed away at home on November 19, 2020 surrounded by her loving family.

She was born November 17, 1933 in Niles, MI to the late Edward & Fay (Neely) Berends. She was also preceded in death by her sister Verla (Berends) Green, her great-grandson Michael Byars, her great-granddaughter Michaela Blankenbaker, her daughter-in-law Chris Blankenbaker, her niece Jeri Lichnowicz, and her step-son Thomas Donovan.

Leona is survived by her three children, Michael Blankenbaker (Terese) of St. Joseph, MI, Steve Blankenbaker (Carole) of South Bend, IN, and Michelle Vittorie (Joe) of La Quinta, CA; her best friend, Jane Horning; two grandchildren, Sarah and Michael P. (Ashley); four great-grandchildren, Lily, Caleb, Bethany, and Cole; two great-great-grandchildren, Oaklynn and Titus; two beloved nieces, Sherry and Jean, and their brother Richard; stepdaughters, Judy Byars (Keith) and Allison Gleiss; stepson, Hank (Emily); four step-grandchildren, Lanessa, Richard, Raymond, and Katie (Josh); and three step-great-grandchildren, Blake, Beckett, and Camdyn.

Leona attended Washington Clay High School of South Bend. She married Jack L. Blankenbaker in 1951. They had three children, Mike, Steve, and Michelle, all of whom are left to cherish the memories of their amazing mother.

Leona worked at Wheel Horse, Singers, and Associates for a short time, then Balcrank for several years where she met and fell in love with the late (2014) Raymond B. Donovan; they married in 1973. Leona subsequently became an officer of the Old Kent Bank in Niles, MI prior to her retirement.

Leona was a dedicated mother first and foremost, an avid reader. She loved her family deeply and cherished all the times when they were together. She lived in Clay Township her entire life, save for one year in Laguna Niguel, CA (Camp Pendleton) and 1.5 years in Weaverville, NC.

The family would like to thank all the wonderful care & guidance from the Center for Hospice Care team who allowed us to keep her comfortably at home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Center for Hospice Care, 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka, IN 46545.

A private graveside service will be held. Palmer Funeral Home - Hickey Chapel and Southlawn Cremation Services are assisting the family.

To leave an online condolence, please visit www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in South Bend Tribune on Nov. 25, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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