Tuesday, May 20th my aunt Leone passed away. This was my dad's younger sister, she was 64 years old and left quite the legacy during her time here on earth. She was diagnosed with MS 16 years ago and for the last 10 years has been confined to a wheelchair, so although sad for us she is dancing through the streets of heaven as I write this. On Thursday of that week we traveled to Alexandria, MN for her visitation and funeral. The visitation included a time to share memories of Leone and it was so awesome to see how this woman had impacted so many peoples lives. Through her entire journey with MS she never complained, she was such a trooper through her suffering. Along with being a strong woman she also will be remembered as one of kindest people, always remembering everyone's birthday and truly took time for everyone she cared about. My aunt also raised two amazing boys, who have become great men and are using the skills she taught them to raise some great families of their own.
Here are some photos of Leone in her younger days.
Me and Leone the year I was born
My dad and Leone in 1978
My dad's entire family
One of my favorite childhood memories is Labor Day weekend with my dad's family. This particular trip was probably when I was 14 and it looks like it might be the Bug Bee Hive in Paynesville, MN.
A random mix of my grandparents, my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Since the funeral and visitation was in Alexandria, we stayed in a hotel there. My aunt Leone has nine grandchildren and six of them belong to my cousin Tony. They were also staying at the hotel, so we all took turns holding the babies and keeping track of the older ones:).
At the funeral we were able to take a big group photo. It is amazing to see how big our family has grown since the Labor Day photo above. We are still missing quite a few people, but this is the biggest representation I have seen in a long time.
And here are Leone's boys with their families.
My dad and his siblings
The older of Leone's grandchildren
Two of Mike's kids