Elizabeth LEONA Miriam (nee Schwartz) of Swift Current, and formerly of Dorintosh and Simmie, surrounded by family passed away on 2022 April 4 at The Meadows. Leona was predeceased in 2021 by her husband (GORDON Ross Modien) of 57 years, and her brother (Otto Schwartz) of Meadow Lake. Leona is survived by her 3 sons: Landon/Monti (Tesfaye Hunde) of Calgary; Shaynee of Swift Current [Hayley (Saskatoon), Carson (Whitecourt)], and Niki (Krista Dueck) - Addison, Leahana of Saskatoon; her sister-in-law (Mary Anne Schwartz) of Meadow Lake; as well as many nieces and nephews, family, and dear friends.
Leona was born 1942 July 12 at the Meadow Lake Union Hospital to Regina (Jennie), nee Seidler [Neu Strymba, Moldova], and Christian C. Schwartz [Jamestown, ND]. Leona grew up in a log cabin on the homestead and later in a granary converted into a shack in Dorintosh. Riding bike or walking through the forest, she attended Dorintosh School - she always appreciated the trees and lakes of northern Saskatchewan.
At age 12 she came to Swift Current with her Mom who was to work for a few months. Regina stayed until she retired and Leona the rest of her life. Leona attended Elmwood, Ashley, James O'Begg, and Central Schools and completed her commercial certificate at S.C.C.I. (forerunner of Beatty Collegiate). Leona later obtained her GED.
At age 16 she helped drive through the USA on a trip to visit her Grandmother, Mathilde (nee Walther) Seidler – Gores, in Sheboygan, WI.
Leona was very creative. Leona loved colour … the more and the brighter, the better. She loved the joy sunflowers would bring. Both of Leona's parents were musicians, particularly her Dad. This was where her love of country music and dance began. She loved doing crafts (even had a full room of crafts at Simmie), crocheting, drawing, painting, decorated prize-winning cakes, and even wrote light poetry and 3 family tree books. She especially loved to write letters, particularly during the holidays; with some people she corresponded her entire adult life.
Throughout her life, she volunteered with many organizations including the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Cancer Society to name a few. Leona worked for many businesses. She began cleaning offices with her Mom and babysat for countless families. At age 14 she worked at the Dixie Lunch as a dishwasher followed by 6 years as a waitress. She was a receptionist at Acme Electric and later worked at Modern News, a place fondly remembered.
Leona married Gordon on 1963 Oct 11 at St. Olaf Lutheran Church. They soon moved to become hired hands at Earl Nicholson's farm (Morse). In 1966, they moved to Simmie, where she was very active in the community from the United Church Ladies' Association to painting the advertisement boards that were in the Simmie rink for decades and to organizing Simmie parades; of course there were the rounds of cards, coffee, and community celebrations.
In 1973, the family returned to Swift Current. Leona worked at the Modern Cafe; managed the Civic Centre Concession for 8 years; was in housekeeping at the Rainbow Hotel; and worked at A and W, Finnigan's, and Hargordies to name a few. For 12 years, she cleaned at the Wheatland Mall Food Court and was food promoter for Sara Consulting. She cleaned the Sally Shops for 8 years, Co-op Plumbing, and many people's homes until she could no longer - many friendships formed through her work continued until her passing.
Leona was not only a hard worker, but also a life-long learner. She learned and then taught figure skating. She took tennis, archery, swimming lessons; and played volleyball with the other mothers of the time. She was a regular at the library getting more to read, gardened, and collected knickknacks which for her served as important connections or memory points to time, places, and above all to the people in her life. Leona very actively supported the school and extra-curricular activities of her growing sons. Whether driving car to tournaments or practices for their band activities, martial arts, bowling, hockey, soccer, and other activities; she was a Beaver Scouts Leader for a number of years. Supporting her sons' activities, she served in various roles on committees and even learned to keep score for baseball and bowling all of which she would joke was not bad for someone who did not particularly like sports!
For the last years in the house, she and Gordon were constantly on the go with card games, coffees, taking the casino bus to other places, garage sales, tending flowers and yard with its entire collection of gnomes and statues, and attending community events including parades, picnics in the park, the kite competition, and ice-cream and pie at Doc's Town.
Leona was deeply committed to her family, friends, and community. Most would not know that she was quite shy by nature and was something she overcame. She always welcomed people at the door with food and hospitality. Leona had a well-developed sense of humour, enjoyed sharing a laugh, and was a good friend - always lending a hand to support, providing an ear to listen or a shoulder to comfort. Though not rich in material things, she always said she was rich in relationships.
In her early 60s, Leona was diagnosed with Parkinson's which had already begun taking her on its destructive journey. Ultimately, Leona never had a retirement yet in the face of her adversity she remained hopeful and greatly appreciated the support and the people touching her life. She very strongly appreciated the local Parkinson's support group saying the group made her feel valued and not so alone.
Both Leona and Gordon were very active in the lives of their grandchildren, Hayley and Carson, attending school and athletic events. Even when she could no longer hold or hug, Leona's eyes particularly would light up at the touch and sight of her youngest granddaughters, Addison and Leahana.
An amazing mother/grandmother and an amazing person, Leona will be deeply missed!!
A funeral was held with livestream at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on 2022 April 11. The family cannot express enough appreciation for the amazing women and men at The Meadows, and especially for those who cared for Leona in House 21 from 2019 June to her passing. The staff of Meadows are heros in action who truly make Swift Current a resilient, strong, and caring community. Memorial donations in Leona's memory may be made to the Parkinson's Society of Saskatchewan 110B 2103 Airport Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7L 6W2.
Arrangements entrusted to Warren's Funeral Home. For further information please call 1-306-773-8831 or 1-800-267-6606, or visit our website at www.warrensfuneralhome.com and express your sympathy to family members on the tribute wall.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Leona Modien, please visit our floral store.
Parkinson Society of Saskatchewan
110B 2103 Airport Drive, Saskatoon SK S7L 6W2