OBITUARY

Leona Anna McKay

April 4, 1922March 18, 2018
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Born in Lopez, Pennsylvania, Leona was the 12th child of 14 children born to Anna and Joseph Bushofsky. They had a family owned farm where life was very challenging. Before going to school the children did their morning chores, milked the cows, and then ran them out to pasture. They canned food for the winter, and baked their breads and pies in an outdoor brick oven.

From a young age Leona worked hard. At age 16 she went to work in the garment factories and eventually became the seamstresses’ union representative. During World War II Leona worked as a “Rosy the Riveter”. By her early 30’s she opened her own dress shop “Lee Ann’s Fashions”. Leona was a brave woman with an entrepreneurial spirit. In later years she began a real estate career which she worked at until her retirement. She made wise property investment purchases which sustained her throughout her retirement. She was courageous and smart both at home and in her careers.

At age 20 Leona married Joseph Riley and had two children, Joe and Debbie. In 1950 while pregnant with Debbie her husband passed away, leaving her a widow at age 28. Leona faced life with strength and bravery. She bought her own home in 1950 and continued to work and raise Joe and Debbie. At age 30 Leona met the love of her life, Donald McKay. Two years later they married on March 19, 1954. Together they had five children: Donald Jr., Douglas, Gregory, Joyce, and Marvin. These were the happiest years of Leona’s life. She loved raising her children. She was an excellent cook, seamstress and teacher for her children. She made many of their clothes and taught them well. Don and Lee and the children loved fishing, hunting, motorcycling and travel in the camper. At home, Don and Lee (as he called her) loved to cook and entertain. Life was fun.

Her husband, Donald, passed away on January 4, 1979. Again a widow, Leona continued working in real estate and providing for her children. Their son, Donald Jr. passed away December 21, 1980.

After retiring from real estate at age 65, Leona took on the role as loving grandmother and began caring for her grandchildren: Grant, Logan, and Raegan Willis; Crystal, Erica, and Doug McKay; and Robert.

Leona’s warmth extended beyond her own children to all the neighborhood children. The children’s friends all speak fondly of her. She was warm and inviting. All can attest to her many home cooked meals that she so generously shared with all. She made everyone feel welcome in her home.

Up until age 95 she continued to live in her own home, cook and invite family over for meals and a game of Rummy Cube. Her final months, from July 2017 until her passing, were spent in the loving home of her daughter Joyce.

Leona was the last surviving sibling of 14. She is survived by her 6 children, 9 grandchildren, many great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and two step-daughters.

Leona faced life bravely. She provided for her family throughout her 96 years. She was sharp as a tack; if anyone needed to figure out how to do something, Leona could do it or tell them how. She kept us laughing with her lightning fast retorts, and she will be fondly remembered for her kindness and generosity. Leona you will be greatly missed!

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, April 5, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Friday, April 6, 2018
  • Graveside Friday, April 6, 2018
REMEMBERING

Leona Anna McKay

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Douglas Mckay

April 10, 2018

Leona McKay was a unique women and mother, she was a do it your self type of person, she never gave up on any of her children or anything in life. She was a teacher of all things, from school work to riding bikes, swimming, gardening, and sewing for just a small example. She grew up on a farm just outside of a small town in Pensilvania called Lopez. In the early 20's the chores on the farm didn't leave time for much play. She was a very hard working woman who made good use of time, I remember her always saying to make haste not waste.

When I was in my mid 30's at my Brother Greg's house for a fourth of July party, the pool was full of kids, my mother Leona touched my shoulder to get my attention and said "keep your eyes on those kids so they don't drown" I looked at her and said why can't you save them? and she replied "I don't know how to swim.?" And with a shocked look on my face I said what? You don't know how to swim? and she replied no. She said,
"I never learned how because I never had time when I was young." I said you taught us how to swim. I suppose you don't know how to ride a bike either? And she shook her head no and then laughed. She laughed because she had taught us all to swim and ride bikes. I asked, How could you teach us to do this? She replied just because I don't know how to do it doesn't mean I don't know how to teach it. My mother taught us many things with great patience.

I will miss you and love you always mom.
Love,
Douglas

Deborah Wilfert

April 10, 2018

On April 4th my mother, Leona, would have turned 96. In her life time, she did more than anyone I know. Her talents were so many I would be lucky to achieve half that amount. I felt blessed and proud to have her as my mother.

Growing up my friends would tell me they wished she was their mother. My mother truly loved children and she made life fun.
She especially loved infants and hoped in heaven she would be in charge of babies.

This brings me the the story of how she got her name.

Born on a farm she was the 12th of 14 children. All the children were born at home. Delivered by a midwife from a nearby farm.

The oldest daughter was given the job of going to town to get the birth certificate. She was told that my mother was to be named Agnes Cecilia. However, when the oldest daughter Mary got to town she had just read a book about a lovely woman named Leona who was the caregiver to all the children. It was such a lovely story and she loved the name so on the birth certificate she wrote Leona Anna When she arrived home and gave the certificate to her parents she explained why she choose the name. They said it was alright and they would just name the next daughter Agnus. The next daughter was our Aunt Terri, who as soon as legally possible changed her name from Angus to Terri.
Both my mother and Aunt Terri did not learn this story until much later in life.

Well this name was meant to be. My mother loved babies, children and people. She made everyone feel welcome in her home. She was truly generous, warm and inviting.

Mom how lucky I was and still am to have you for my mom. Love you forever,
Debbie

PS Below is a poem I wrote to my mom on her 92nd birthday.


Deborah Wilfert

April 9, 2018

My mother touched so many lives and there are so many memories. One fond memory was posted by Jim Ferguson on Facebook. I thought I would share it. His post below.

Paula Fullerton

April 9, 2018

To the whole McKay family, our deepest condolences. For many years my family and the Willis family were neighbors. My boys grew up calling Joyce, Aunti Joyce and Leona, Grandma McKay. For a time Grandma McKay was the emergency contact for our children at school. Once a week, after school the boys and I would visit Leona to pick up any school mail. She would tell me great stories of her life while the boys would wander around the house and look at the many things she had about. She was always generous and smiling. During the service hearing about her life reminded me of those visits and all of the interesting stories I was told. Thank you Leona for blessing us with your generosity and happiness. You will be greatly missed.

Joyce Willis

April 9, 2018

Mom was truly amazing she could accomplish anything she put her mind to.
She knew how to fix anything, all problems and make everybody happy 😃
One day when I came home from school she dyed the entire carpet in the house. When I left for school we had moss green carpet, when I got home we had burgundy carpet. She moved all the furniture out of the house by herself. She would bake bread ever week and Greg and I would smell it walking home from school, and would race to get the end piece ......She was a fabulous cook. I learned so much from her; anyone could, all they had to do was listen! I love you mom and will miss you forever... till I see you in heaven ... Joyce

Raegan Willis

April 3, 2018

My grandma Leona was one of the most influential women in my life. She raised me from birth and helped my mother Joyce by taking care of my brothers and me. She taught me numerous things like how to use a sewing machine, how make bread, how to crochet scarfs, and many other useful and fun activities. She was such a wonderful grandmother! She made sure I was always well dressed, and hand made me lots of matching dresses for my dolls as well. I can’t recall a birthday party where she wasn’t there, and made every single birthday cake for all of us. My Grandma Leona was a straight talker and always told me exactly how it was, and never lied to me. She was always there for me and wanted me to be happy. She made my childhood unforgettable, and most importantly, loved me unconditionally. I would not be the woman I am today without her!
The picture attached is of my Grandmother standing behind me at one of my birthday parties singing “Happy Birthday to me”.
I am so grateful for her and I Love her more than anyone can fathom - Her Angel Face

Deborah KERSTING

March 24, 2018

I have such good memories of Mrs. McKay (it sounds so disrespectful to call her Leona) I always called her Mrs. McKay. Growing up on Shadow Lane as kids we knew every one in the neighborhood. We all knew Mrs. McKay, because she was so nice to all the neighborhood children. I remember, maybe some of you know also, who would have the most children, my mom or Mrs. McKay. In the pass I remember having so much fun with Mrs. McKay and the McKay children. Those were the good old days.

The last time I saw her I was selling Avon. When she answered the door I said "Avon calling" (just for fun). To my surprise she knew I was a Rivera and one of the oldest. She invited me in and ask about everyone in the family. It was fun giving her updates on my family and getting updates on all the McKay children. When, I left I had such a peacefulness inside me. It was fun. My prayer to all of you. GOD BLESS.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

The Bushofsky Family. Leona on mother's lap

FROM THE FAMILY

Leona over the years - ages 18 to 95