LEONA GRIMM EVANS SHAFER
November 17, 1900 - April 24, 1994
Leona Grimm Evans was born November 17, 1900, to David and Ida Evans in Colfax, Washington. She had two older brothers, Jess and Earl, who were very close and very protective of her. Leona loved to dance and sing. She had a beautiful voice. Leona liked to listen to Kate Smith sing and knew all of her songs, including one of her favorites, “When the Moon Comes over the Mountain”. As a Jean Mantkus. At this time (1943), Leona’s stepfather had come to live with them. Leona and Dewey insisted that their daughter, Betty and granddaughter, Joanne come and live with them also. So they had a full house. During all of this Leona kept up with her Central United Methodist choir work, her affiliation with the Moose teenager she sang at weddings, funerals, and in the choir at church. When Leona was about 17 she got a job at Potete’s Candy Shop, where she learned to make hand-dipped chocolates. At the age of 19 she married Delbert Gallaugher and later had two children, Betty born in 1922, and Russell Gene in 1924. Delbert passed away and left Leona a widow at the age of 26. Leona’s stepfather, George Ramsey, being a widower, had Leona and the two children come and live with him on the ranch just outside Potlatch, Idaho. Leona took over the household duties, such as the cooking, laundry, etc., until she was able to get a job on a wheat ranch at harvest time. At the age of 28 she met and fell in love with John Dewey Shafer. They were married after a courtship of one month. After a period of time they moved to Republic, Washington, to be with Dewey’s parents who had a wheat ranch there. The latter part of 1928, Leona, Dewey, and the two children moved to Spokane, Washington. During the Depression, Leona worked in a bakery while Dewey was able to find part-time work. Leona was an excellent seamstress, so she was always able to make clothing for her family and herself. As time went on and things were better financially, they moved to a home on Shannon, just across Have male Junior High School where Betty and Gene attended. Then in March 1939, Leona and Dewey had a baby girl, Sally Jo. War broke out December 7, 1941, and in February of 1942 Betty married Charles Mantkus at St. John’s Cathedral in Spokane. That May of 1942, Charles enlisted in the Army and Leona’s only son Gene went into the Navy. During WWII, Leona would cry every time the songs “White Christmas” or “Danny Boy” were played because of Charles and Gene being in the service.
In August of 1943, Leona had her first granddaughter, Joanne Lodge and also with Sally’s school activities.
In 1947, they moved to a 10-acre chicken and garden farm on Cherry Lane in the Glenrose area. They would hold big canning bees to process the vegetables grown in the garden.
In 1952, Russel Gene married Patricia Whittekiend and later 2 more of Leona’s granddaughters were born-Kathy in 1960 and Karri in 1968.
Leona and Dewey became grandparents again in 1953-a grandson, John Michael Mantkus. The grandchildren loved being with their grandma and grandpa and spent many happy days with them. Leona always lied to have Christmas at her home and she made it look like a fairyland.
In the spring of 1972, the folks sold the farm and moved to a nice little house on Thurston and Hogan in Spokane. The grandchildren loved to stay all night. Leona was the best cook and always kept her home clean and tidy. They had many holiday dinners with family and Dad still gardened.
Sally married Zenas Burrows in 1974. They had 8 children between them. In 1984, Sally moved the folks, with Gene’s help, to a Coeur d’Alene retirement home so she could watch over them since she lived in Coeur d’Alene.
Dad had to go into a nursing home in March 1985 because of arthritis in his back and that broke Mother’s heart. Dewey Shafer died in 1986. Leona’s health deteriorated and she soon had to go into an adult care home. Her strength eventually got better after a year and she was able to move to Woodway Inn Retirement Home. She was such a feisty little woman but enjoyed the friends there, especially Olive Boone. Leona’s son Gene died in February of 1990.
In March 1992, Leona moved back to Spokane where Sally now lived. Leona tried Camlu Retirement home for a few months but by the end of May she moved to Sunshine Gardens Care Center. She received excellent care there, with almost daily visits from family and friends, especially Blanch Gamon and Mary Wham.
She was a loving grandma and was crazy about babies. When the nurse’s aides would bring their babies to work, Leona had to hold them. She herself was blessed with 7 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, besides 5 step grandchildren and 12 step great grandchildren.
On a Sunday afternoon Sally visited Leona to read poetry and look at pictures. When she saw a large picture of Jesus she seemed to relax and be comfortable. When Jesus’ name was mentioned, she’d bow her head reverently and seem tearful. The nurse said she seemed to know she was going to pass on. She spent the night before her death just looking up at the ceiling in anticipation.
Leona Shafer died on April 24, 1994, at Sunshine Gardens here in Spokane. She will be well loved and long remembered by all who knew her.
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