It was in a little white house 3 miles southwest of Sully, Iowa that Leona Lucille De Jong was born to Nellie (Paltzer) and Bert E. De Jong on February 17, 1922. The family later moved from the De Jong farm to a farm in the Sandridge vicinity north of Pella, Iowa. Leona attended the Sandridge Country School there. Leona grew up with a little brother, Willard De Jong, and later had a sister, Erma Mae. In 1932, her parents moved to a farm west of Sully and it was on this farm that Leona spent her teenage years. She learned to cook and sew and drive a tractor, however, she much preferred driving horses and riding her pony. In 1939 the family moved into Sully, where she worked in The Grocery Store until World War II and then worked in the testing room of the Sully Creamery, when several young men were drafted into the military service. Leona was “scooping the loop” around the Central Park in Pella, Iowa after church on a Sunday evening, when Bernie (Bastian) Menninga asker her for a date. They dated for nearly 3 years and were united in marriage in a home wedding on February 11, 1943, in Sully. It was on Christmas morning in 1947 their daughter, Deyona Joy, was born and 3 years later on Valentine’s Day in 1951 their son, Daryl Dean, was born. Leona, Bernie and their two children made their home on his parents, John N. and Helen (Van Gilst) Menninga, farm west of Galesburg, Iowa for 54 years, where they enjoyed farming until they retired. Leona and Bernie enjoyed many travels after they retired. They went to Hawaii, Europe, Alaska, Mexico and had visited many of the States. Bernie’s health then began failing and in November, 1995, they moved into an apartment near downtown Pella. Bernie passed away on August 14, 1997, at the age of 77 years. Leona continued living in Pella and moved into the Hilltop Manor in August, 2008, where she received loving care and enjoyed making new friends.
On Wednesday morning, February 13, 2013, Leona passed away at the Hospice of Pella Comfort House in Pella 4 days prior to her 91st birthday. Those who will cherish her memory are her two children and their families: Deyona and Michael Icenbice of Lynnville, Randall Icenbice, Michelle and James Stewart, Tanya and Calvin Rozendaal, Daryl and Linda (Nikkel) Menninga of Sully, Angela and Dan Roose, Marc and Jodi Menninga, Matthew and Anne Menninga.
Leona leaves her sister, Erma M. (Donald) Tuinstra of Pella and her sister-in-law, Henrietta (Willard) De Jong of Newton, Iowa. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bernie Menninga; her parents, Bert and Nellie De Jong; her brother, Willard De Jong and her brother-in-law, Donald Tuinstra; her parents-in-law, John and Helen Menninga; and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Nicholas and Ella (Ver Meer) Menninga. Leona was a charter member of the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk –Duven Funeral Home.