Leota was my great aunt, sister of my grandmother on my father's side. She was always special to me because she helped me know my grandmother who died when I was three. She was the link to a part of my extended family that I could have missed out on knowing.
Two years ago when she celebrated her 90th birthday, I wrote her a letter...
You have meant so much to me over the years…your special love to us, your great nieces and nephews…your place in our family, always a reminder of how special extended families are…and whether you realized it or not, you were our link to our grandmother whom we did not get to know personally. We knew her through you, through your stories, and through your love for us.
I was always proud to tell people at Belmont that Francis & Leota Strother were my great aunt and uncle…the two of you were role models not only for me but for many in our congregation…strong Christians who worked hard and lived their faith daily. I know the two of you lived through trials, but you allowed the Lord to work them for good, strengthening your faith and dependence on Him. What a testimony!
Although I have greatly missed seeing you, I am so proud that you picked up and moved in the sunset of your life to a new place, made new friends, and found a new place of ministry. I can only think how many more people have been witness to your love and faithfulness to your Lord.
Aunt Leota was one of the last of her generation with only one younger brother still living, Rex Cate. She left a daughter, Karen, and son-in-law, Ed, a granddaughter, Heather, and a grandson, Chris. And of course nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews. She had lived in Mississippi near Karen for the last several years, so I did not have the opportunity to see her or celebrate her 90th birthday with her, but I kept in touch with her...she was a wonderful letter-writer! And I will always remember her and what she meant to me...my Aunt Leota.