By Susie Harbaugh
When 92-year-old Leona Steven isn’t tending the “healing garden” at Jarman Center where she makes her home, she has an active social schedule that most people half her age would find daunting. Celebrating birthdays at the Tri-City Country Club in Villa Grove, meeting her Circle of Friends at The Smith House on Tuesdays, and Coffee Group on Fridays all keep her active, connected to area residents, and full of life and vigor.
And for the record, Leona says she likes “REAL” coffee; no decaf allowed!
But when Tuscola High School marks its 86th Homecoming on Sept. 22 and 23, Leona has something extra special to celebrate: her 75th anniversary as a graduate!
Steven will be recognized at the ninth annual Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Douglas County Museum. Tickets are still available by calling the high school at 217-253-2377.
Leona’s secret to longevity is exercise. Longtime Tuscola residents will remember watching her walk a mile into town from her stately brick house that still sits on the farm just east of Interstate 57.
“My sister, Evelyn Creager is 90,” smiled Steven, and she always liked to jog. I could walk as fast as she ran and have always liked it!”
Four generations of the Steven family have strong ties to the Tuscola school district. Ann Steven Leisner has been a substitute teacher for more than 40 years and will celebrate her 45th class reunion as a Warrior fan this year. Leona’s granddaughter, Johanna Morgan Steffens, a 2001 graduate, is currently teaching English and is the drama coach at Tuscola Community High School.
Leona was in the audience earlier this year when her great-granddaughter, Julianne Steffens, was crowned Little Miss Tuscola 2017. Julianne will return the favor by helping honor her great-grandma on Sept. 23.
Born in Champaign County, Leona Joy Timmons moved to Douglas County to a home just east of LyondellBasell Industries with her family when she was five years old. She walked the mile north to a country school on the corner of North Line Road extended and County Road 750 for her grade school career.
The full story can be found in the Sept. 6, 2017, edition of The Tuscola Journal.