Lillian Leonard

Lillian Leonard formerly of Storm Lake, 96, passed away on July 22 at the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond. A private family graveside and burial service will be held at Holstein Cemetery, with a public celebration of life to occur at a future date.

Lillian was born on Oct. 27, 1923 on a farm near Deweese, Neb. She was the daughter of Leo and Marie (Hamersky) Cecava. She graduated from Lawrence High School in Nebraska in 1941.  After graduation and meeting education requirements, Lillian taught school in rural Nebraska from 1941-1945.  Following her teaching career, she worked at Mutual of Omaha Insurance in Omaha.  While in Omaha, Lillian met the love of her life, Maurice Orville Leonard of Holstein. The couple married on June 7, 1947, in Omaha. 

Lillian and Maurice moved to Guthrie Center following their wedding where Lillian worked for Guthrie Center Public Schools food service.  In 1955, Lillian and Maurice moved to Storm Lake where Lillian was employed by Storm Lake Community Schools as director of food services and cook for 24 years before retiring in 1986.  Lillian was an active volunteer for many church activities in St. Mary’s Catholic parish as a Catholic Daughter, Guild and parish funeral committee member.  In her retirement, she also volunteered at Buena Vista Hospital hospitality services.  Due to failing health, Lillian moved to the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond in 2018 where she resided until the time of her death.

Lillian was noted for being an outstanding cook and baker.  In 1952, she won the 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 family time together.

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) Winand 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. Left also to cherish her memory are sisters: Rose (Frank) Wanek, Bellevue, Neb.; and Frances Hubl (Charles), Lawrence, Neb.; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, Leo and Marie; her husband Maurice; grandson Jeromy Martinek; brothers: Victor (Rose) Cecava, Frank (Janet) Cecava, Ernie (Laveta) Cecava, Louis (MaryAnn) Cecava; and sisters: Mary (John) Stech, Olga (Joseph) Thimesch  and Martha Cecava.

Memorials may be sent in Lillian’s name to the Storm Lake Meals on Wheels (c/o Susan Vaudt, P.O. Box 1092, Storm Lake, IA 50588) or a charity of choice.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Andrews Funeral Home in Belmond. 

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