OXFORD - Leona Mae (Herd) Casavant, 90, died Friday, April 26, 2019, at Life Care Center of Auburn after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Leona was born on August 30, 1928, in Oxford and grew up in Allston and Brighton MA. She was a graduate of Brighton High School. In 1945, she married the love of her life, Gabriel P. Casavant and returned to Oxford where she raised her family. After her four boys were grown, she returned to the workforce and spent several years working in the Massachusetts state hospital system, retiring as an activities director at Worcester State Hospital.
Leona was larger than life, a woman who believed in living her life to the fullest. Her enthusiasm and humor were infectious, and she was absolutely the life of every party. She loved music; even in her last days, she would frequently break into song. She was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage and had fond memories of her childhood stay in Ireland with her grandmother. Leona loved arts and crafts and found her artistic calling in creating beautifully detailed paintings on rocks. All her family and friends cherish their ladybugs, owls, cats, cottages, and seascapes as well as a few treasured Cassaso paintings.
Leona loved animals, especially horses. Many of her favorite moments came from her time spent at the racetrack watching her horses race. One of the highlights of her life was when her beloved horse, Boston Accent, whom she named, won his first race.
Leona loved her family deeply. Her boys were her pride and joy, only supplanted when her grandchildren came along. She created so many memories for them that will last forever. Whenever her grandchildren get together, stories about Grammy flow, from the picky carpet, to the closet elf, to the Burger King crowns and many more.
Leona was predeceased by her mother and step-father, Mary (Herd) and James DiGessi, and her beloved husband, Gabriel. She is survived by her four sons, Victor (Cynthia), of Thompson, CT; Gabriel, Jr., and David (Kathleen), both of Oxford; and Michael (Diane) of Hooksett, NH. She leaves seven grandchildren, Ryan, Katharine, Crystal (Mark Roy), James (Samantha), Courtney (David Peltz), Corey (Marcia), and Chelsea (Kyle Richards), and six great-grandchildren, Nathan and Luke Roy; Cameron and Charlotte Peltz; Grace Casavant, and Willow Richards.
The family would like to thank the staff at Sandalwood Nursing Home in Oxford who cared for Leona for so many years and the staff at Life Care of Auburn who were so kind to her in her last weeks. A special thanks to Kim Bernier from New England Hospice who worked so hard to make her last months comfortable. We appreciate you all.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Roch’s church in Oxford on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 11:00 with burial to follow in North Cemetery, Oxford. The family requests that flowers be omitted and contributions made in Leona’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Rd., Waltham, MA 02452. Paradis-Givner Funeral Home in Oxford is directing the arrangements.
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