Leona Gavell Hill was born near and raised in Bantam, Connecticut on the 13th of May, 1947. Her parents were Alice (Burke) and Francis Gavell. Leona was the oldest of four children; James (Joyce), Robert (Karen), and Susan (Mohammed) who each survive her. Leona graduated from Becker Junior College in Worcester, Massachusetts and in 1968 married James C. Hill (div 1978) from East Montpelier, Vermont. Their children are Jim, Ben, and daughter Amber who passed away in 1974. After losing their youngest child they left New England and travelled west to Colorado. With 2 young sons, 2 Great Danes, and a cat riding on the dashboard; the old Cadillac broke down in Canon City. While stranded and waiting for parts they realized every single person they met in Canon was kind and friendly. This was enough to convince them this area would be an ideal place to start anew. This was the beginning of many of Leona's friendships that lasted through the decades. She worked in various places waitressing, performing secretarial work and later became a licensed Psychiatric Technician after completing a course of study at the Pueblo Community College. She worked for years at the Colorado State Mental Institute in Pueblo from which she retired. She was a natural at communication, organization, and compassion -fulfilling her various roles while making friends everywhere she went. Later Leona moved to Florence -a town full of people she loved and not too far from her friends in Canon. She had always enjoyed meeting new people, talking with them, learning their stories and telling hers. She was a faithful friend to so many and thought of with kindness by all she met. She was absolutely devoted to her two sons and 4 grandchildren (all living in Salida). Leona, "Grandma Lee Lee," enjoyed being a part of her grandchildren's lives. She passed on to them her faith in God, love of family (past and present), the value of true friendship, love of country, respect of hard working people, and helping the underdog (including the underdogs of the animal kingdom). Over her life Leona saved and provided retirement for countless cats, dogs, chickens, roosters, goats, pigs, and even iguanas. Leona is survived by so many friends, her beloved siblings (and their spouses), her boys Jim and Ben (Tracey) and their children Annie, Ember, Cal, and Mallory. Leona was an unfortunate victim of COVID and had a subsequent severe stroke that took her life on the 28th of September. She had a deep faith in God and knew without doubt her future was secured through Christ. There will be a celebration of her life at the Florence Senior Community Center on the 14th of October at 7 pm. There will be finger foods, dancing, and Karaoke (three of her favorite things in life!). All are truly encouraged and welcomed to attend.
Published by The Canon City Daily Record on Oct. 8, 2021.