Edith Hillegonds Leland
May 14, 1921 – May 20, 2021
Obituary for Edith Hillegonds Leland
Edith Hillegonds Leland was born on May 14, 1921 in Dubuque, Iowa, and then spent her childhood in Glenwood, Illinois. As a young woman, she chose John 3:30 as her life verse – “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.”
Edith attended the Northern Illinois State Teachers’ College, hoping to prepare to be a Home Economics teacher. There she met Gordon Leland, her brother’s college roommate, and a courtship quickly developed. She found four years of required college chemistry for a Home Ec Major to be more than daunting, but Gordon assured her that if she married him, he would see that she had enough Home Ec to satisfy her. They were married on December 28, 1940 at her uncle’s home in Glenwood. Their honeymoon consisted of moving from Illinois to West Virginia, where Gordon was a teacher. After the schoolhouse burned to the ground and Gordon’s job was eliminated, they moved to Maywood, Illinois, where he continued teaching.
In 1947 they moved to Gordon’s old family home in Oak Park, Illinois, where they cared for the needs of his aging mother. While there, Edith attended Calvary Memorial Church where she was involved in a variety of ministries, teaching both children and adults, singing, and serving on the executive board of the church. She and Gordon also “adopted” all the young people in the church’s college group so that they could have a home away from home. Her home and table were always full.
As her children were coming along, Edith was convinced that the only way she could successfully train up her children for the Lord was to pray for them, and these were the years when God refined her prayer life, expanding it, and blessing her own life through it.
Edith had always stayed home to be a full-time mom to her five children; but when the last one was a high school upperclassman, she took a job as secretary and bookkeeper for the Christian Medical Society and Missionary Health Program. In 1979 the Society moved its national headquarters from Oak Park to Richardson, Texas, and Edith and Gordon moved with them. While there Edith became secretary to the minister of music in her church and continued her growing prayer ministry.
In 1996, nine years after Gordon’s death, Edith moved to Denver, Colorado, to live near her daughter, June. There she again became active in her church, Mission Hills, recording attendance for the Children’s ministry and facilitating the prayer ministry of the Challengers Sunday School class. In later years she attended Aspen Grove Community Church and South Fellowship church, serving by supporting them with the ministry of prayer.
Edith is survived by her sons Robert and Paul, and daughters Ruth, Joyce, and June, as well as 8 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
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