Boynton Beach, Fla.—Leona Rose Roberts passed away peacefully in Boynton Beach, Fla., on September 15, 2019 at the age of 98.
Born in Portland, Maine, Leona heeded the call to help in the war effort and joined the 3,700 women of Maine who built the Liberty ships during WWII, producing a ship off the line every 47 days. These ships produced the ‘Rosie the Riveters’ and ‘Wendy the Welders’ that could build ships faster than our enemies could sink them and provided major supply chains to our troops.
After the war, Leona and her naval husband Bill ended up in Norfolk, where she raised her family and became an active member of the Jewish Veterans Auxiliary at the Commodore Levy Chapel on the Norfolk Naval Base. Once a month she would prepare the Oneg Shabbats for the Sabbath services and would make sure there was enough food and sweets for the servicemen and women who attended services to sneak some back to their ships and barracks afterwards.
Leona loved opera, theatre, concerts, anything musical, especially when her violinist husband played with other talented members of her close-knit family. She volunteered at Beth Sholom Home, was beating women half her age at Mahjong well into her 80’s and enjoyed competitive Rummy-Q with her son and daughters right up to her last days of hospice care.
Leona always viewed as special those days when her children picked her up and took her to a casino, where she found a favorite slot machine to sit at and enjoyed a great lunch of her favorite foods.
Leona was predeceased by her parents, Bessie and Benjamin Edison, sister Eleanor Taft and husband of 46 years, William S. Roberts. She was surrounded by her loving children: Diane Roberts, Jerry Roberts, Esther Roberts Kline and husband Andy Kline, sister-in-law Andrea Kline, who Leona loved as her friend, as well as ‘private family nurse’ and Ron Lovell.
She is also survived by her sister Estelle Fineman, daughter-in-law Jacalyn Roberts (Jerry), grandsons Brandon Roberts, Travis Roberts and wife Beth, great grandchildren Chloe, Bryce, and Shawn, step grandsons Jeffrey, Eric, and Danny Kline, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Graveside services were conducted by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg and Cantor Jennifer Rueben at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Norfolk.
H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.