Leona Stachowiak (Schletty)
LIFE STORY WRITTEN BY HER SON, BOB
Leona was born only a few months short of 100 years ago and was married to Richard Stachowiak in 1939. That’s a very long life and a very long marriage. But far more importantly than length, Leona lived a life full of kindness and generosity; her marriage steadfast and unwavering, she was an unconditionally devoted mother and a woman with a truly compassionate and loving spirit.
But our dear precious mother, though remarkably saintly, was not some cardboard perfect saint. Far from it. That woman had her share—dare I say more than her share—of peculiarities and off behaviors. She simply could not throw anything away. And woe it be unto you if you were caught thoughtlessly tossing away that four month old newspaper. And, true child of the Depression, she would wear gloves with more holes than fingers while keeping a box—a big box—of new, never worn gloves far back on the top shelf of the hall closet.
Leona had a open-hearted almost childlike innocence about her, but also a deep-seated sadness. She was a shy person and as a child was at times teased, laughed at, and called a dummy by other kids. She never completely overcame that; no matter what we kids said, she really believed that she was a bright and independent thinker. True, she was not a worldly person: she raised her family on a farm only one mile from the farm of her own childhood, she had never been on a plane, had only been out of the state of Minnesota twice to visit family a few miles across the river in Wisconsin. But she was an intelligent woman who thought things through for herself. The modern world passed her by, but the deep important lessons she tried to pass on to her children came from someone who thought long and hard about what it meant to be a good person and a good mother.
And there was a deeper sadness in her in her life. In 1950 her son, Ricky Leon, only 18 months old, died of leukemia. In those days leukemia was a death sentence and Leona knew that. But she could never get past the feeling of a mother trying to save her child and not being able to do so. It stayed with her throughout her life. Maybe now that’s been resolved.
Leona missed her little Ricky, but it never got in the way of enjoying and loving all the little children that passed through her life. After her children came, the grandchildren, then the great-grandchildren and now there are two great-great-grandchildren. She would give herself over completely to the delight and wonder of a new baby toddling about, laugh with utter joy while watching a three year old trying to explain to her younger sister how to behave, and smile with deep inner contentment at a young child who was now a young adult. During these last couple of years she may have forgotten some names and birth dates and at times, even the faces and who belonged to whom, but she never forgot how to love and rejoice each and every child who wandered into and out of her life.
Richard, our father, passed away March 1, 2012. He was the provider, worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known. We never had much, but every bill was paid on time and there was always food on the table. He has been missed. Leona, our mother, just passed away December 27, 2017. She was our mother; she held us when we were little and sick, tried to talk to us when we were teenagers and ornery, grieved with us when we got older and went through hard times, laughed herself silly with us when we told her of yet one more foolish mistake we had made—and always, always told us we were loved. Leona was our mother…and she will be missed.
OBITUARY AS PUBLISHED IN THE NEWSPAPER
Leona May Stachowiak (nee Schletty)
Age 99 of Hugo
Passed Away December 27, 2017
Leona was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 28, 1918. She was one of seven children to Christina (nee Reitter) and William Schletty. She married the love of her life, Richard “Rich” Stachowiak and they had five children together.
Leona passed away at Bickford Assisted Living (formerly Gracewood) on the evening of December 27, 2017. She is preceded in death by husband of over 72 years, Richard “Rich” Stachowiak; her son, Ricky Leon Stachowiak; her granddaughter, Cindy Marie Butts; and five of her siblings. She is survived by her children, Agnes “Aggie” Hicks, Bob Stachowiak, Bonnie (Gerry) Braasch and Becky Stachowiak; her brother, Bob (Sherry) Schletty; her 7 grandchildren, Dave (Ann) Hicks, Rick Hicks, Robin Wagner, Tony (fiancé, Anna Watkins), Nicole (Reid) Swanson, Jamie Barnes, and Dylan Barnes; her 11 great grandchildren, Christina, Raquel, Sam, Onnie, Jake, Sophia, Lily, Isabel, Brittany, Brianne, and Mike; her 2 great-great-grandchildren, Sydney and Rio; and many other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be from 4:00-7:00PM on Friday, January 5, 2018 at Mueller Memorial, 4738 Bald Eagle Avenue, White Bear Lake. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00AM on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at St. Genevieve Parish (at the St. John the Baptist Site), 14383 Forest Blvd. N., Hugo, with visitation one hour prior to Mass at church. Interment at St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Hugo. A special thank you to the "angels" at Gracewood/Bickford Assisted Living for their compassionate, loving care over the last year and a half and also to Brighton Hospice for their extra care and kindness during the last few months.