Leona Whitcanack


Leona May Whitcanack, passed away peacefully on February 4, 2024, at the age of 93 in Fairfield. Born on August 27, 1930, in Birmingham, Leona was the daughter of Albert and Susie Leydens VanDerWall, and she spent her entire life in Van Buren County.

Leona’s early life in Birmingham was marked by her dedication to education, as she attended the Birmingham School and graduated in 1948.  In 1950, she married her beloved husband, Earl Whitcanack, and together they embarked on a life filled with love, family, and shared passions. He passed away in 2019.

Throughout her life, Leona’s nurturing spirit shone brightly as she embraced the role of caretaker, not only within her family but also within her community. She had a special way with children, which led her to babysit for several years, touching many lives with her kindness and care. Leona also served her community through her work at the Keosauqua nursing home, school, and daycare, where her gentle nature was a comfort to all she assisted.

Upon retiring, Leona and Earl found joy in buying and selling antiques, an endeavor that allowed them to explore their shared interests and spend quality time together. An avid reader, Leona possessed a sharp wit that delighted everyone around her, and her presence was a source of joy at every family gathering. Her love for her family was immeasurable, and it remained her greatest pleasure throughout her life.

Leona’s involvement in her community extended to her active participation in the Mother’s Club and church circle, where she formed countless cherished friendships. Her faith was an integral part of her life, and she attended Keosauqua United Methodist Church with devotion and grace.

Leona’s legacy is carried on by her daughter, Gay Lynn (Ken) of Danville, Iowa; her grandsons, Alden Braddock of Peoria, Illinois, and Seth Braddock of Pleasant Hill, Iowa; as well as numerous nieces and nephews who will continue to remember her fondly. She was the matriarch of a family that adored her, and she will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Her journey preceded in death by her parents, her dear husband Earl, her daughters Earleen Whitcanack and Audrey Ehler, and her brother James VanDerWall.

A graveside service to honor the life of Leona May Whitcanack will be held at 2:00PM at Maple Hill Cemetery in Birmingham on Thursday, February 8, 2024, with Pastor Mary Kathryn Hart officiating.

Condolences for the Whitcanack family may be left online at www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com, where memories and tributes to Leona can be shared. Memorials in Leona’s honor to the Keosauqua Library or the Keosauqua United Methodist Church may be brought to the service or mailed to the family at 13412 Danville Road, Danville, IA 52623. 

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