Leona “Lee” Marie (Daoust) Schneider, 82, passed away Saturday, March 11, 2017 from the complications of several health issues including congestive heart failure and dementia. God, whom she had a loving relationship with, called her to be with him while she was living at Salmons Place Senior Care in Alexandria, Minnesota under the care of Douglas County Hospice.
Mass of Christian Burial is 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 18, 2017, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria with Fr. Steven Binsfeld officiating. Music is provided by pianist, Laurie J. Youngers and cantors, Karen Deschepper and Alex Sobtzak. Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Visitation is 4-7 p.m., with a 4 p.m. prayer service, Friday at Lind Family Funeral Home in Alexandria and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.
She was born April 26, 1934 in Brooks, Minnesota to Octave and Leah Daoust. She was the youngest of six children. She was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Lee attended grade school in Brooks, Minnesota and junior high in Calumet, Minnesota, while completing 9th grade in Goodland, Minnesota. As an adult, Lee received her general education diploma (GED), something she and her family were very proud of.
Lee worked a variety of jobs before getting married in 1951 to Raphael “Ray” Sobtzak. They lived in Coleraine, Minnesota. To this union, six children were born – Donna, Alan, Susan, Steven, Karen and Michael. Susan passed away at the age of three months. After 17 years, the marriage ended and Lee and her five children moved to Minneapolis, where she met and married Celestine “Red” Schneider. They married on July 22, 1968. To this union, two children were born – Charles and Celeste. In 1979, the couple moved to Willmar, Minnesota and lived on a turkey farm. In that same year, because of their love for children, Lee and Red became foster parents. They were foster parents to nearly 100 children throughout their 15 years of foster care service in Kandiyohi County. In 1993, Lee and Red were named the Minnesota Foster Parents of the Year.
Lee loved every single one those children as if they were her own. She was known as “mom” to many of them. In 1986, they moved to Blomkest, Minnesota, a little town south of Willmar. And then in 1987, they moved back to Willmar, this time living in town.
While living in Kandiyohi County, Leona worked at Thorson’s New and Used Shop (a job she loved and cherished), the Salvation Army thrift shop and a convenience store, which she helped manage. In 1999, Lee and Red moved to Glenwood, Minnesota, at the urging of their youngest daughter, Celeste, who lived nearby in Alexandria, Minnesota. While living in Glenwood, both Lee and Red worked at the Pope County Museum.
In September of 2011, Lee and Red moved to Alexandria to Woodhill Apartments and in July of 2015, after Red was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the couple moved to Windmill Ponds Assisted Living in Alexandria. Lee was then diagnosed with dementia in April of 2016 and she was moved to Salmons Place Senior Care, a home for adult foster care and Red was moved to Egdewood Vista to the memory care unit. Lee loved living at Salmons and treasured those who took care of her including, Jeanette, John, Jim and Lou. They were her extended family.
Lee loved life and loved to make people laugh. Her smile was infectious and her eyes sparkled. She loved singing and playing guitar and was known for writing beautiful songs or making up quick little ditties. Her children were her life and she cherished them dearly, loving them more than they even realized. She was devastated by the loss of first-born daughter, Donna, who passed away from breast cancer in 2011.
Her love for Red was never-ending and she was crushed when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and they had to live separate from one another. Lee and Red were the epitome of what love and marriage should be. Their bond was unbreakable. Lee was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and its Daughters of Isabella. Her favorite activities besides singing and playing guitar included playing cards (cribbage, 500, Whist and so many more), fishing, camping and especially spending time with family.
Lee is preceded in death by her parents, Octave and Leah; siblings, Theresa, Lucille Josephine, Irene and Victor; children, Susan and Donna; and many other family members.
She is survived by husband, Celestine “Red” Schneider; her six children, Alan (Shirley) Sobtzak of Boise, ID, Steven (Lori) Sobtzak of Mahtomedi, MN, Karen (Elroy) Deschepper of Jasper, MN, Michael (Kim) Sobtzak of Minnetonka, MN, Charles (Ann) Schneider of Glen Carbon, IL, and Celeste (Al) Edenloff of Alexandria, MN; 26 grandchildren; 35 great grandchildren; great-great grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.