Leona May Winchester of Charlevoix, passed away in Charlevoix on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, to a beautiful and new life. She was born August 19, 1933, in Rogers City to Fred and Helen (Beebe) Liedtke. In 1951, she graduated from Rogers City High School with her older brother, Fritz who had served in the US Navy. Leona then studied at Highland Park School of Nursing to become a Registered Surgical Nurse.
While in nurse's training, she met Bob Winchester who was attending the Wayne State University School of Mortuary Science. They were married on September 18, 1954, in Livonia. Together, they operated the Winchester Funeral Home in Freeport, Mich. They moved to Charlevoix in 1957 to establish the Winchester Funeral Home which they owned until 1985, when it was sold to their son.
Leona was an artist and would illustrate and write books for her children, such as, “Hush Puppy – The Beaver Island Beagle”. She was a musician and played piano and inspired her children with her love of music. She was a seamstress and loved to sew, knit, crochet and do needlepoint, but her greatest love was quilting. Leona was a prolific quilter and hand-stitched each quilt she made for her children and grandchildren.
In 1966, Leona became a private pilot. She participated in the Powder Puff Derby cross-country air races and was a member of the Ninety-Nines, founded by Amelia Earhart and ninety-eight others.
Leona was an experienced navigator for thousands of nautical miles as First Mate aboard the Susie Lee and Sanctuary. From their home on Lake Charlevoix, she and Bob circumnavigated the approximately 6000 mile “Great Loop” two and a half times. They also traveled to the Georgian Bay in summer and spent thirteen winters boating in Florida. After retiring from boating, they made a winter home in Englewood, Fla.
Leona is survived by her life love, Bob; their children, Randy Winchester (Lynne Mindes) of Arlington, Mass., Ron (Jayne) Winchester of Charlevoix and Englewood, Fla., and Susan L. Winchester of Sarasota, Fla.; grandchildren, Adrienne Winchester (Jose' Cabrera) of Petoskey, Ethan (Lindsay) Winchester of Boyne Falls, McKenzie (Bill) MacDougall of Concord, N.H., Brian Burke of Portland, Maine, Carlie Burke of Bend, Ore.; great-granddaughter, Madelyn James MacDougall; sisters-in-law Karen Liedtke of Rogers City and Margaret Winchester of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. She was preceded in death by her siblings, Marie West, Frederick “Fritz” Liedtke, Lorene Mikolic, and Paul Liedtke.
Funeral to be announced when family and friends will be able to attend. Burial will take place in Brookside Cemetery, Charlevoix.
To honor Leona, memorial remembrances may be made at your discretion.
Arrangements are being handled by the Winchester Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign Leona's guestbook at www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.