Thursday, December 1, 2011

Leona Howland Maffei's Obituary

Dorothy sent this along today. It will soon be in the Syracuse newspaper:

Leona Howland Maffei, 92, who lived her life with grace, courage, and humor, died peacefully at the home of her daughter Dorothy in New Kingston, NY on November 28th. She was born on March 24, 1919 in Center Lisle, NY. She had three younger sisters – Sylva, Phyllis and Gladys – who predeceased her.

She was also predeceased by her daughter Carol Anne, son Joseph and husband Neil C. Maffei Sr.. She is survived by her son Neil C. Maffei, Jr. (Patricia Body) of Syracuse, daughter Dorothy J. Maffei of New Kingston, her grandchildren Daniel B. Maffei (Abby Davidson), Sara L. Maffei, Andrew C. Maffei and Max Body-Maffei - and many nieces, nephews and relatives.

She graduated from Marathon High School and attended nursing school at Crouse Memorial in Syracuse. She married on Dec. 7th, 1939. She pursued her education throughout her life and was especially interested in art history, which she pursued as a continuing education student at Syracuse University for many years. That interest exemplified her insatiable desire to challenge herself and to excel in the things that interested her even if they brought her far away from her Southern Tier rural background.

She was an avid traveler and took pride in understanding the art and culture of the many places in the world that she visited. She and her husband also hosted foreign students studying at Syracuse University for many years. They sponsored a School of Management student Tan Nuygen, his wife, Viet and their children so they could immigrate to the United States after the Vietnam War, and considered them part of their family.

She worked tirelessly as a volunteer for both social and healthcare organizations in Central New York. She served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, the Corinthian Club, the League of Women Voters and others. She loved the arts and supported and attended regularly The Syracuse Symphony, Syracuse Stage, Syracuse Opera and The Everson Museum of Art where she also served as a docent for many years. She contributed to Francis House, Hospice of Central New York, The Leukemia Society, and was a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood.

She had an enormous love of food and often spoke of how her husband’s Italian-American family taught her to cook and then she continued to pursue both her cooking techniques and skills throughout her life. At her longtime home on Sedgwick Drive, she had over 200 varieties of roses and she was a lifelong member of the Onondaga Garden Club.

Calling hours will be at Farone & Sons, 1500 Park Street, Thursday Dec 8th at 10AM ending at Noon with a short Service & Burial at Woodlawn with a reception following from 1PM – 5PM at Francesca’s Cucina at 545 North Salina Street.

In lieu of flowers, donations to a favorite cause or organization would be appreciated.


CB/Lucille said...

I am very proud to be related to Leona! As I am to all of her sisters! I can hear Gladys now, up there, rattling away with her, Philly, Sylva and Aunt Lil, giving Grandma and my mother NO room to insert a phrase! All lying on the bed together as they always did!!

Kathryn said...

Now, see here! The bed will need to have lots of books on it. Those women loved their books, don't you know?
Yeah, I know that you DO know. I am just adding a few of Grandma's phrases to make it right.
Once when we were visiting my parents, Beth buttered toast for my Mom. Mom told her that Leona would love it, but to add more butter to make it right for Ma. Aunt Leona always seemed to cook more healthy. She was amazing. In more ways than one. She was such a strong woman too.

Sue Kinsella said...

Thinking of Leona, Dorothy, Neil, and all the family. Love to you.