Leona Mae Miller, 69, Orofino

      Leona Mae Miller passed away on Orofino on April 23, 2013.

     Leona was born Nov. 10, 1943 to Richard and Vivian Gilmore in Iola, KS. Mom spent most of her childhood in Iola. Her family moved to Payette in 1953, but Mom stayed in Kansas with her and aunt and uncle, Jay and June Gilmore, for a couple of years. Mom joined the rest of the family in Idaho in 1955.

     Mom graduated from Payette High School in 1961. After graduation, she attended beauty school in Boise. Soon after receiving her cosmetology license, Mom moved to St. Maries. While in St. Maries, Mom met and married Dad, Carl Miller, and became an instant mother to Deanna, Karla and Garry in December of 1965. Mom and Dad had two more sons, Richard (Ricky), who was born in St. Maries and Michael who was born in Bonners Ferry.

     Our family moved to Bonners Ferry in 1968. Mom continued to be a hairdresser in different salons until they built a new house on the south hill in 1971. Dad then built a beauty shop in the basement where Mom did hair for her well-established clientele that became her life-long friends.

     In 1980, Dad, Mom and the two little boys moved to Peck. While in Peck, it didn't take Mom long to find a ceramic shop where she not only enjoyed the ceramics, but began several new friendships.

     The biggest life change that occurred in Peck was when Mom answered an ad that was posted on the Post Office bulletin board. Mom met the Elsbury family. She then began babysitting for their six-week-old baby, Mickey. As John and Nancy Jo added to their family, Katie, Danny and Stevie became part of ours as well. Mom loved all the kids in her life.

     In 1986, the family moved to Orofino and Dad and Mom started a logging company that eventually led Dad and the boys to go to work in Colville, WA. Mom drove back and forth from Orofino to Colville each weekend, so she was here for the Elsbury kids during the week and with the rest of her family on the weekends.

     Mom always loved to create things such as ceramics and sewing. But, above all, quilting became her passion. Her quilts have blessed each of us, as well as many others throughout the country. Quilting became such a part of her that she had a heart attack at a quilt retreat. When she suffered a stroke, she could hardly read or write, but she was always able to continue quilting. As she was undergoing chemo treatments, she would make lap quilts to take to other cancer patients in Lewiston.

     Even though Mom fought hard through the several illnesses, she never lost her smile, her laugh and her love of life, family and quilts.

     Mom will be greatly missed by her husband, Carl of Orofino; her children, Deanna (Steve) Mastre of Anchor Point, AK; Jessica (Darrell) Brooks, Cadence, and Alayna; Callie (Michael) Scalia, Aedan and Cameron; Leeza Mastre and Kristie Mastre; Quentin, Jaxon; Michael Miller of Orofino and the John Elsbury family; her brothers, George (Linda) Gilmore, Mike (Candy) Gilmore; her sister, Diana Martin; and several nieces and nephews, and all her friends.

     Leona was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Vivian Gilmore; her brother, Richard (Dick) Gilmore, and her grandson, Tyler Keith Mastre.

     Services were held Tuesday, April 30, with Pine Hills Funeral Chapel and Crematory caring for arrangements.

Transcribed by Michal Berreth-Beck, 2014

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