Lillian Leonard, 96, formerly of Storm Lake, died July 22, 2020 at the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond. A family graveside service was held at the Holstein Cemetery on July 24, with Father Mark Stoll officiating. A public celebration of life will take place at a later date. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family: Cynthia Martinek, 1412 Bel City Lane, Belmond, 50421.
Lillian was born Oct. 27, 1923 on a farm near Deweese, NE, the daughter of Leo and Marie (Hamersky) Cecava. She graduated from Lawrence (NE) High School in 1941. After graduating and meeting education requirements, Lillian taught school in rural Nebraska from 1941-1945. Then she worked at Mutual of Omaha insurance. While in Omaha, Lillian met the love of her life, Maurice Orville Leonard of Holstein. They were married June 7, 1947 in Omaha.
Lillian and Maurice moved to Guthrie Center where Lillian worked in food service for the Guthrie Center Public Schools. In 1955 Lillian and Maurice moved to Storm Lake where Lillian was employed by the Storm Lake Public Schools as director of food services and cook for 24 years before retiring in 1986.
Lillian was an active volunteer in many church activities at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish: as a Catholic Daughter, guild, and funeral committee member. In retirement she volunteered with Buena Vista Hospital hospitality services. Due to failing health, Lillian moved to the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond in 2018.
Lillian was noted for being an outstanding cook and baker. In 1952 she won national Pillsbury Bake Off competition for her "Hamwiches" in the bread category. Her pies, rolls and kolaches were noted by family members and friends as being some of the best. She enjoyed her coffees and playing bridge and 500 with friends. Lillian was noted for her willingness to reach out to everyone and to include them in conversation. She was a dedicated wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother who enjoyed spending time with family.
Lillian is survived by her daughters Dr. Cynthia Martinek (Jerold) of Belmond and Dr. DiAnne Leonard (Dr. Neil Ellison, of Danville, PA; grandchildren Christopher Martinek; Katherine (Christopher) Winard and their daughter Addison; Dr. Ross (Dr. Halle) Ellison and their daughters Ava and Emma; Seth Ellison, and Todd (Dr. Cassie) Ellison and their daughter Nora; sisters Rose (Frank) Wanek of Bellevue, NE and Frances Hubl (Charles) of Lawrence, NE.
Lillian was preceded in death by her parents Leo and Marie; husband Maurice; grandson Jeromy Martinek; brothers Victor (Rose) Cecava, Frank (Janet) Cecava, Ernie (Laveta) Cecava, and Louis (MaryAnn) Cecava; and sisters Mary (John) Stech, Olga (Joseph) Thimesch, and Martha Cecava.
Memorials in Lillian’s name are suggested to: Storm Lake Meals on Wheels, c/o Susan Vaudt, P.O. Box 1092, Storm Lake, 50588.