Leona, Leona and more Leona’s!

The name ‘Leona’ is derived from the Latin word, leo, for “lion”. The German name Leona means ‘brave as a lioness.’

The name Leona peaked in popularity from 1918-1920. In 1934, there were still plenty of Leona’s around Athelstan, Iowa.

Two of the 30 quilt blocks represent Leona’s. Two other blocks are related to a Leona.

DSC00224Eva Marie Byrns made a block for her daughter, Leona Byrns. This block is the only one with an age added to it ’18 months’. Thank you Eva Marie, almost 80 years later, this helped pinpoint when this gift of friendship quilt blocks was given to Doris. Leona, a grandmother herself now, shared in an email that she remembers her mother attending the quilt guild meetings in Athelstan.

Leona Booher, 12 years old at the time, made her own block.  It, along with her sister Darlene’s block, are two of the few squares that were appliquéd on a sewing machine instead of by hand. Leona stitched her name by hand.

When Leona (Booher) passed, in 2007, Leona was a great-great grandmother. Her obituary stated:

“Leona always had a large garden. She loved to cook and bake, with banana cream pie and noodle making as her family specialties. She enjoyed picking walnuts, gallons and gallons of walnuts, always giving away most of what she picked. She enjoyed the outdoors, even fishing and rabbit hunting when she could. Leona was a gifted quilter and always very generous of her time and talents, putting other people’s needs ahead of her own. Her family was always most important to her, and she enjoyed keeping her mind active. She attended the Athelstan Holiness Church.”

DSC00212Dean Weese was two years old when the squares were created. His mother would have made his blocks (yes, blocks, he had two in the set!). Dean’s mother’s name was Zelma Leona Weese.

Georgia Older made a block for herself and her mother, Mrs. EJ Bownes. Georgia’s daughter was grown and married when the blocks were made. Georgia’s granddaughter (who does not have a block in this set) was named Leona Jolene.

To celebrate the ‘L’ day in the A to Z April blog challenge, here’s remembering the Leona’s in this world; all of them, not just those associated with these quilt blocks.


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