Leota M. Cunningham

January 12, 1936February 4, 2019

Leota M. Cunningham, 83, of East Peoria, passed away Mon. Feb. 4, 2019 surrounded by her family at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. She was born Jan.12, 1936 in Morton, IL to Percy T. and Eva M. (Piper) Newell. She married James Ronald Vaughan June 19, 1954. He passed away April 6, 1973. She then married Jack Cunningham May 9, 1975 in Pekin. Jack was a loving and devoted husband to Leota, always making sure she was happy. Survivors include her children, Ron ( Cheryl) Vaughan, Randy Vaughan and Tammi (Ron) Miller; son- in- law Jack Kazense; step-daughters Roxy Mikelton and Raney (Larry) Nutt; brother Jack Newell and sister Bonnie Anderson. She also leaves a legacy of 14 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her first husband, daughters Deborah Vaughan and Teresa Kazense; step-son Jesse Cunningham; siblings Leah Wubben, Donald Newell, Samuel Newell, Dale Newell, Amos Newell, Flossie Robinson and Percy Newell. Leota was a wonderful, devoted caretaker to her family, especially her parents and daughters. She loved country music and to sing and yodel with her sisters, often dancing the two step. She had a magical green thumb, loved to garden and can vegetables. She enjoyed baking and cooking. Many a neighborhood kid found a place at her dinner table or on her front porch where she taught and hosted vacation bible school. Most of all, she was a wonderful grandma, who spent many hours camping, watching cartoons, playing checkers, and just being with her grandkids. She will be missed by all that knew her. Cremation will be accorded. A celebration of life will be held on Sun. Feb.10, 2019 from 2-4 p.m. at the American Legion Post 983 in East Peoria. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Midwest Affiliate. Online condolences may be made to


  • St. Jude Midwest Affiliate


  • Celebration of Life Sunday, February 10, 2019

Leota M. Cunningham

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Vickie Nagel /wilson

February 21, 2019

So sorry for your loss i remember come to her house when we were kids she was such a wonderful woman rip

Karon Lebron

February 7, 2019

So sorry for your loss prayers sent to all of you Beverley and Kevin so sorry

Sandy Colvin

February 7, 2019

Leota will be missed greatly by all who knew her. She was a beautiful lady with a beautiful voice & heart. Steve and I have great memories of hearing Leota & Jackie play & sing together. Rest in peace and sing with the Angel's, Leota! Hugs to you Jackie! So sorry for your loss.

Judy Johnson Smail

February 6, 2019

I have very fond memories of Jack and Leota coming to play and sing at mom and dad's house( Alice and Clarence Johnson) while I was growing up. And also at Bob and Janette Jones home in manito. Uncle Tom Johnson was a big fan.Leota had a beautiful voice and was such a sweet person . She will be remembered with love.