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Leona Joy Steven

Leona Joy Steven, age 97, passed away on Monday, November 29th, 2021. She was born, raised, and spent her life in Tuscola, Illinois. Leona was born on November 10, 1924 to Wayne and Beryl Lewis Timmons. She married James Wayne Steven on July 25th, 1948 at Cartwright Church in Tuscola. He died on May 29, 1996. Together they had two children, Ann (Eric) Leisner of Tuscola and James (Michelle) Steven of Camargo. She was very proud of her grandchildren, Johanna Joy (Grant) Steffens and Brendan Steven Leisner, both of Tuscola. She especially loved spending time with her 3 great grandchildren: Julianne Joy Steffens, Jett Wayne Steffens, and Joslynn Noel Steffens. She is also survived by her sister, Evelyn Creager, of Spokane, Washington, along with 2 nephews and several cousins.  

Leona was a 1942 graduate of Tuscola High School and a member of the Tuscola United Methodist Church. She was a beautiful seamstress and a phenomenal knitter. She liked to knit clothing for the family and make beautiful baby blankets. She especially loved to knit little dresses for her granddaughter which were then passed down and worn by her great granddaughters. She belonged to a knitting club for over 32 years where friends would gather once a week to knit and visit. Leona loved to work outside and could grow almost anything. She was happiest when her hands were dirty in rich soil. Many people remember her being a dedicated walker. She could always be found walking the streets of Tuscola with a friendly wave and a smile. She was also an avid bridge player and played with a group of friends for many years. Possibly her favorite hobby was following the harness racing circuit with her husband. Wayne and Leona were very well known in the harness racing community. For years, they traveled all over the country watching races. They spent their winters in Florida watching horse training and enjoying the warm weather. They were even featured in a magazine for their years of dedication to their favorite hobby. They met an entire group of horse lovers who became very good friends. Even in her later years, Leona loved to travel to new places and was always ready for a new adventure. She was very happy to be a farmer’s wife and kept a beautiful home. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, and a gracious friend to many. Leona was once referred to as a “walking encyclopedia” of Tuscola. She loved her town and was very proud of where she lived.  

A Celebration of Life service for Leona will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, December 6th, 2021 at Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main Street, Tuscola, IL.  

Memorials can be made to the Tuscola Community High School Drama Department, where Leona was always very proud of her director granddaughter, Johanna Steffens, or to the Douglas County Museum. 

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