LEONA FRANCES PITTMANN, age 103, passed away peacefully on January 8, 2023 at Whispering Creek in Janesville after residing there for three weeks.
Leona was born on March 29, 1919, in rural Waterville to Thomas and Lena Slechta and lived her entire life in the area. She graduated from Waterville High School in 1937. On August 8, 1939, at an 8:00 a.m. wedding performed by her uncle, Father Albert Slechta, she married Charles E. Pittmann of Morristown in the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Waterville. They spent 72 years of marriage together crop farming and selling feeder pigs, chickens, sheep, and geese. In 1987 they retired and moved into Waterville, building a new home in 2005. Charles and Leona started their family by adopting Gary in 1943, Karen in 1945, and Marcia in 1950 from Catholic Charities. In 1954 she gave birth to Kathleen and seven years later on the same day to Mark. In later life, when her children were grown, she worked part time at Sakatah State Park, Dr. Ralph Buesgen’s office, Kamp Dels, and was an active member of the Rosary Society at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
Leona was an excellent cook and kept her home, yard, and garden spotless. She was always willing and available to help others while working along Charles’s side. She loved flowers, road trips with family and friends, cutting wood, playing softball, outrunning her kids and grandkids, snowmobiling, dancing, and even walking on stilts on her 70th wedding anniversary party at the farm. She loved tomatoes and green tea. Her contagious laughter, goodness, and spunk were her secrets to longevity.
Leona received several honors during her lifetime. She made and donated nearly 1000 quilts and lap-robes to hospice and veterans’ homes, earning her the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in 2011. She and Charles were Minnesota Century Farm Owners. She was also the recipient of a 16 gallon blood donation pin.
Leona is survived by her children, Karen (Keith) Stangler of Byron, Marcia Osterberg of Minneapolis, Kathleen (Joe) Shikonya of La Crosse, and Mark (Connie) Pittmann of Morristown; eleven grandchildren; many great grandchildren; several great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces; nephews; and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; a son Gary (Sandra) Pittmann; a grandson, Brian Pittmann; siblings, Tony (Dorothy) Slechta, Chuck (Coleyne) Slechta, Ken (Doris) Slechta; Agnes (Roy) Ludington; and a son-in-law, Ernest Osterberg.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Waterville, with Father John Powers officiating. Visitation will be held for one hour before the service at the church on Saturday. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Waterville.