Leona Mae Jirmars Litteral, 93 of Columbia, MO passed away Saturday, October 9, 2021 at Boone Hospital in Columbia. She was born November 23, 1927, the youngest daughter of John Albert and Margie Ethelie (Gardner). She had three sisters, Buelah Fern (Roy) Switzer, Viona Pearl (Norman) Head and Ruth Lillie (Raymond) Head. They lived on a farm three miles north of Bucklin. Leona Mae walked two miles to a one room school house, Osage School for grade school. She started school at age four so she could walk with her sister Ruth. Leona rode the very first school bus to Bucklin High School, where she graduated in 1944.
Leona married Rice Edward Whisenand March 7, 1946. They began their farm life north of Bucklin on their uncle, James Jirmars farm. Farm life was hard without the modern conveniences of running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity. Their first daughter, Betty was born June 13, 1947.
Two years later, they bought and moved to the John Hanson farm, which had electricity. They farmed the land, had dairy cows, black angus cattle, and a large flock of chickens, selling hatching eggs to the hatchery in Marceline. The milk was sold to a Concordia, MO cheese company.
Two other daughters were born, Mary Lea, October 20, 1949 and Anita, August 29, 1955. The family attended Sunday School and church at Bucklin Christian Church and were active members. Rice died June 13, 1963 after a long illness and is buried in the Bucklin Masonic Cemetery.
Leona continued to run the farm for seven years then moved into town in 1970 and sold the farm some years later. She worked for Walsworth Publishing Company, Bucklin State Bank and Brookfield Federal Savings and Loan before moving to Overland Park, KS in 1978. There she was employed by a Commodity Brokerage Company at the Kansas City Board of Trade.
On May 1, 1983, Leona married Gerald “Jerry” Litteral in Las Vegas, NV. He retired in 1988 from The Hallmark Co. after 35 years. They moved to Columbia, MO in June, 1989 where they continued to live their retirement years. She enjoyed traveling, visiting all 50 states, playing cards, reading, quilting, and especially playing shuffleboard at the VFW. Leona had pieced and quilted a quilt for each daughter and grandchild. She was a member of Broadway Christian Church, VFW, Tuesday Club, and The Columbia Garden Club.
She is survived by her daughters, Betty and husband Jerry King, Bucklin, Mary Rippenkroeger, Boonville, and Anita and husband Paul Sanderson, Columbia. Also surviving are grandchildren, Edward King (Rose), Tony King (Jason), Jeffrey Sanderson (Kristin), and Lindsey Erin Sanderson; four great grandchildren, Lydia King Jackson (Jake), Lily King, Bo Sanderson, and Addalyne Sanderson; two step grandchildren; five step-great grandchildren; three great-great step-grandchildren; one great-great grandson expected this November; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Leona was preceded in death by her parents; three sisters; husband, Rice Whisenand; husband, Gerald Litteral; son-in-law, Francis Rippenkroeger; and infant grandson, Charles Quinn III.
A visitation for Leona will be held Wednesday, October 13, 2021 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM followed by a funeral service at 2:00 PM, both at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO 65202. Interment in Memorial Park Cemetery will follow. The family suggests that guest wear masks for the safety of all.
Online condolences may be made at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.