My sympathies to you and your family
Leona’s life began in East Angus, Quebec, a first generation Canadian, eldest child of Hielkje and Pieter Heegsma, who had emigrated from The Netherlands to what was advertised in Europe as “the land of milk and honey” to attract a much needed force of experienced dairy workers. Once the requirements of immigration were fulfilled, Pieter chose to move his small family to the Lawrence Colony to establish a homestead. Leona attended the one room LawrenceColonySchool., and helped her parents with the daily chores of living such a rugged existence. She developed a love of working with horses and dogs, and this would become her career choice.
WWII interrupted Pieter’s attempts to establish his farm, and he was sent overseas shortly after the birth of their second child.. Building and operating the partially established farm fell to 9 year old Leona and her mother. Shortly after the end of the war, Leona moved away to realize her own dreams, and began training and showing show jumpers at a stable in Warwick, Quebec. She enjoyed a stellar record, and was often featured on posters riding the amazing White Cloud. It was during this time that she also began raising and showing Dalmation dogs.
Leona married the love of her life, Roland Warburton, on June 25th, 1950, in the ColonyChurch followed by a Dolly Parton style “picnic on the ground” at her parent’s home. The newlyweds established their own homestead on what was then called the “Lower Colony Road”. They built their home, farming and raising beef cattle and hackney ponies as well as establishing Leona’s “Flashdale Kennels” . They eventually required more land, and moved with their young family to Island Brook, where Roland raised Black Angus and Leona branched into Quarter Horses. They did custom farm work as well. Leona was well known in the Quarter Horse world for breeding and training horses quick enough for cutting, Texas speed and Action, and barrel racing, but gentle enough for children. The family enjoyed competition, and their home housed many trophies from the dog and horseshow world, as well as Pole Vaulting, Golf and Cribbage, and those of the children as they grew up. Leona was a”crack shot”, and did her share of providing meat for the table, even as a child in her father’s war time absence.
On retirement, Roland and Leona moved to Randboro, Quebec, and Lee spent her final years in Sawyerville, Quebec with her son Kerry.
Leona was predeceased by her beloved husband, Roland(1994) , parents, Hielkje (1997) and Pieter(1983) Heegsma , Grandson, Timothy(2006), and sister, Lorraine(2003), and was followed by sister Sylvia (March 2023) . She will be greatly missed by her sons, Kevin (Georgina)and Kerry, and daughter Myrna; her grandchildren, Melissa (Chris), Kristina, Pamela (Jason), and the late Timothy; and Jonathan, (Melissa);, as well as great grandchildren, Brynne, Annakah, Caiden and Lochlan; Mason, Alisha and Jordan; Caleb and Tiahana. Also left to mourn her are her brother, John (Claire) and sister Bonnie (Lorne), and many nieces and nephews.
“Because I could not stop for death- He kindly stopped for me-. The carriage held but just Ourselves-, and Immortality”. (Emily Dickinson)
Cremation has already taken place. Interment at Island Brook Cemetery, Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at 2 PM.