DOWNEY – Leona E. Swanson was born April 25, 1924 on a family farm in Minnesota.
As a teenager, she met her future husband, Wally, who lived on a neighboring farm. After WWII began, Wally was in the Army and served served in the South Pacific.
Leona graduated high school and moved to Southern California to live with a sister, Vila, and her husband. She worked for Douglas Aircraft, building war planes in Redondo Beach.
During the war years, Leona and Wally mailed love letters to each other. When the war ended, Wally traveled home to Minnesota and Leona soon joined him to be married. They were married in the summer of 1946 in Minnesota and decided to start their new life together in California.
They bought a small home in Huntington Park, where their first two children, Larry and Barbara, were born. In 1950, they bought land in Downey and built their dream home. Several years later, daughters Patricia and Pamela were born.
Wally worked two miles from home and came home every day for lunch with his family. The family never left Downey and in 1989 Wally died peacefully at home from cancer.
Leona passed away peacefully at home April 7, several days before her 93rd birthday, with her son at her side.
Leona and Wally also owned a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains, where they spent weekends fashing and hiking. Every summer, they camped for two weeks at Doheny State Beach.
In her later years, Leona wrote poetry, which was sometimes published in the local newspaper. Leona was a very active member of Messiah Lutheran Church of Downey.
Before her passing, Leona donated many pieces of family antique clothing and furniture to the Downey Historical Society, where it is on display.
Leona is survived by her four children, nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wally; parents, Amil and Frida Albrecht; sisters, Vila and Rosella; and grandson, Brian.