Leona C. Hayenga, 101, died peacefully on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 at Dixon Health Care and Rehabilitation Center.
She was born on May 22, 1917 in Oregon, the daughter of John and Jennie (Johnson) Dirksen.
Leona graduated in 1934 from Mt. Morris High School and married Harry L. Hayenga in 1936.
Leona's love of the outdoors, animals and gardening led them to farming in the Lee and Ogle County areas for more than 40 years.
They milked Holstein cows, raised chickens and horses, as well as various other livestock and crops.
After Harry's death in 1973, Leona continued to milk cows and raise chickens, always with one of her prized German shepherds at her side.
After retirement in 1981, Leona moved to a farmette in rural Ashton where she continued raising chickens and boarding horses, as well as working for a neighboring dairy farm.
Even after leaving the farmette in 2008, when she moved to Dixon, Leona (affectionately known as "Grandma Great" or "Amazing Gram") continued to share her love of the land and animals with four generations through her wonderful stories.
She loved spending time with her family, especially on the farm, and was an avid reader and crossword puzzle solver.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Janis and Duane Butterbaugh; daughter-in-law, Mary Lynn Hayenga; granddaughters, Deanna Butterbaugh (Barb Phillips), Kris (Larry) Williams; and granddaughter-in-law, Susan Butterbaugh; great-grandchildren: Sam, Nick, Kori (Cody), Matthew, Mary Ellen (Missy) and Teresa (Maghen); and great-great-grandchildren, Lauren, Carter, Jaron, and Keaghen.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; sisters, Anna Marie Castle and Helen Dirksen; brother, Mike Dirksen; son, Roger F. Hayenga; grandsons, David Butterbaugh and Brad Hayenga; granddaughter, Mary Ann (Butterbaugh) Marconi; and great-great-granddaughter, Amelia.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. at Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, Oregon, preceded by a visitation beginning at 10 a.m. Pastor Frank Lay will officiate.
Burial will be at Ebenezer Cemetery, rural Oregon.
A memorial fund has been established for Unity Hospice or Heifer International.
Visit www.farrellhollandgale.com to leave condolences.