December 4, 2010

A Passing of the Guard

In certainly our saddest moment of the year, we unexpectedly lost Joe's mother (aka: Mom Leone and Grandma Carolyn). On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, we received a call that Grandma Carolyn was quickly slipping and had only days, perhaps hours, to live. Frail at 86, Mom's brief hospitalization that week for diverticulitis complications became her final illness—something we never would have expected.

Joe immediately raced down to Chicago on Thursday afternoon, upon receiving the call. The kids and I followed a couple hours later, after quickly packing some overnight bags. Joe and the kids and I, together with Joe's sister Margaret, were with her at the hospital when she was transferred home by ambulance at 7:00 pm that evening.

Shortly after she arrived home, her priest arrived to give Mom Last Rites. She was right where she wanted to be—tucked in bed, back at home, surrounded by her children and her grandchildren, receiving her final sacrament. Joe and I spent that night with her, holding her hand, praying with her, helping her through the toughest moments. At 10:00 am the next morning, the Friday before Thanksgiving, Joe and I held Mom's hand as she peacefully drew her last breath.

Mom's death was shockingly fast and unexpected. But it was also powerful and moving, and we are so pleased that it was all the way she would have wanted it. I can't think of her last night and her final breaths without getting weepy all over again, but they are tears of joy for a life well-lived and for the hole that her departure leaves for us here on earth.

One of the last things she said to Joe and me, as we told her about all her children and grandchildren who were already in the house or en route from various states to see her, was, "Bless all your souls."

Bless your soul, Mom! We miss you immensely.


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Carolyn Jane Leone Carolyn Jane Leone (nee Maderer) was the beloved wife of the late Louis B. Leone, M.D.; loving mother of Louis M. Leone, George J. (Cherryl, nee Kelly) Leone, Dr. Catherine L. (and Jeff Brown) Leone, John F. Leone, the late James T. Leone, William J. (Jennifer Krentz) Leone, Margaret L. (Anthony) Rosano, Paul F. Leone, Joseph T. (Elizabeth, nee Latham) Leone and Carolyn A. Leone; devoted grandmother of Helen (Chris Shanahan) Shoemaker, James Shoemaker, Rosemary Leone, Callie Leone, Zoe Leone, Margaret Leone, Madeline Leone, Anna Marie Leone, Kathleen Leone, William Leone, Andrew Leone, Therese Leone, Marguerite Leone, and Jack L. Smith; cherished great-grandmother of Phineas Shanahan; fond sister of the late George Willard Maderer; dear sister-in-law of Catherine (Theodore) Kay. Visitation is 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Friedrichs Funeral Home, 320 W. Central Road (at Northwest Highway), Mount Prospect. She will lie in state 9 a.m. until Mass at 10 a.m. Monday, at St. Raymond de Penafort Church, Elmhurst Road (Route 83) at Lincoln Street, Mount Prospect. Interment will be in Queen of Heaven cemetery. Carolyn Jane Maderer was born Sept. 24, 1924, in Elgin, Ill. She grew up with her parents and brother on a dairy farm in Hampshire that had been homesteaded by her great-grandfather. She attended the Bean School, a one-room schoolhouse and graduated from Hampshire High School. At the age of 16 she won a scholarship to the University of Illinois-Champaign, when female students interested in chemistry studied in the College of Home Economics. She studied nutrition and graduated in 1944. In 1946, she married college sweetheart Louis B. Leone, M.D., after he had completed medical school and she had finished an internship as a nutritionist. They settled briefly in Chicago; Louis was deployed by the Army to Panama. Carolyn followed shortly with their first two sons. Returning to civilian life, they lived in Chicago, then moved with their growing family to Skokie, where they were active in St. Lambert's Parish. In 1961 they moved to Mount Prospect, where Carolyn had lived with her family for the last 49 years. Here, Louis's career at Northwest Community Hospital anchored the family which grew to nine children while Louis was delivering lots of other families' babies. Through the moves and the cheerful support of her husband's career, Carolyn made a life full of love and care for her children - and lots of other children and organizations, too. She was active in St. Raymond's Parish and the broader community. Over the years she was involved in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and any activities the local schools could dream up for her kids. She spent much of her time shepherding her children to lessons, recitals, meetings, sports events, plays, parades and concerts. She enjoyed playing bridge in the neighborhood and bowled in a women's league for many years. She was a member of St. Ray's Woman's Club, taught CCD classes, and participated in bible study classes. She and Louis shared a love of music and were longtime patrons of the Lyric Opera in Chicago. Carolyn was a member of the Northwest Chapter of the Lyric Opera Guild for many years, serving in time as its treasurer and president. Carolyn and Louis enjoyed traveling to many parts of the world. Carolyn was grateful, and maybe a little surprised, at all the wonderful blessings and experiences that came into her life. She passed away at home, Nov. 19, 2010, at home in Mount Prospect, as was her wish, surrounded by many of her loving family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago IL 60632, 773-247-3663, For funeral information, 847-255-7800

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