Leona and her husband Bruce first discovered Fountain Hills in the mid 80’sand moved to the town permanently in 1997 upon Leona’s early retirement from teaching. Bruce, a native of Bloomington, IL had retired from teaching social studies and coaching football and wrestling in South Bend, IN several years before. Leona, from Beaver Falls, PA had taught Language Arts for 35 years, 30 of them in South Bend.
Leona grew up in a Polish-American family with pictures on the wall of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and FDR. Bruce, a cousin of Adlai Stevenson, was also a Democrat until the late 60’s. They left the Democrat Party when they saw the destruction of the black family and, the deterioration of public schools under the radical policies of President Lyndon Johnson and the corrupt National Education Association which promoted those policies.
Bruce became a daily listener of Rush Limbaugh and during the 1800 miles of travel back and forth between Indiana and Arizona several times a year managed to convince Leona to listen and pay attention. Their first involvement in Republican politics in Arizona was volunteering for Congressman J.D. Hayworth and joining the Fountain Hills Republican Club. A few years later Leona became a member of the Arizona Federation of Republican Women and the National Federation of Republican Women.
Leona has served as publicity chairman of the FHRC for almost 20 years and has served on the Board of Directors as a chairman and member of several committees in addition to being the 2nd Vice-President and currently the 1st Vice-President.
She has served on the NFRW’s Board of Directors since 2003 as Outreach/Diversity Chairman and member of the Membership and Public Relations Committees. She has been a delegate to 9 NFRW conventions. She also served as 2nd and 1st VP and President of the AzFRW
She has been a PC, a State Committeemen, and an Alternate Delegate to the RNC Convention in New York City and attended RNC conventions in Tampa and Cleveland as a member of the NFRW Regents.
Political highlights: White House Tea with First Lady Laura Bush, attending Presidential debates and RNC meetings and GOP Leadership Conferences, meeting Charlton Heston
Personal highlights: being a part of five amazing step-children’s lives for 45 years; being a grandma of 7 and great-grandma of 5; being a director of a travel club for over 20 years which included being a tour escort to Europe; visiting China in 1981; going to the British Open in Troon, Scotland; owning an Irish pub for 8 years; dancing with the Drifters in the 60’s.
Leona died peacefully at the Hospice of the Valley Eckstein Center on July 26, 2018.