Leona Gwinn Brown, of Winston-Salem and Clemmons, North Carolina, formerly of Daniels, passed away Sunday, November 8, 2020.
Leona was born at home in McKendree, December 7, 1924, the daughter of Leonard C. and Minnie R. Gwinn.
She was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley and West Virginia University in Morgantown. A lifelong believer in education and literacy, she was an avid reader and prolific writer. Many of her articles were published in Goldenseal, the magazine of West Virginia traditional life produced by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. She also published a book, The Gwinns of Round Bottom, which describes the history and lives of her grandfather and his ancestors and descendants. This book can be viewed, along with a Forward revised in 2000, online at gwinnreunion.org/book/
Leona will be most fondly remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her devotion to church and family, and her loving relationships with all who met her, will be her abiding legacy.
By profession, Leona was a teacher of elementary grades in the public schools of Monongalia and Pocahontas counties. Even during retirement, she maintained warm and loving contact with her school colleagues, students and friends.
She met her husband, Howard W. Brown, in high school. During their court-ship, on her 17th birthday, Leona and Howard were sitting in the parlor of her parents’ home when the radio broadcast the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Howard was already in the U.S. Army when they were married in Beckley, February 16, 1943. The war interrupted their lives, but not their love. While Howard was in the service, Leona began her college studies at Alderson Broaddus in Philippi. She would not complete her teaching degree until the 1950s.
Leona was a determined survivor. When she was very young, her family was terribly affected by tuberculosis, a disease for which definitive treatments would only be invented much later. Leona herself was infected in 1938, but she recovered. In later years she would transcribe and publish her father’s diary, which he kept while confined in a sanitarium during the entire year of 1939. Leona was also a 30-year survivor of surgery and treatment for breast cancer.
Leona was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband, Howard; and brothers, Marshall D. Gwinn and Joel A. Gwinn.
She is survived by her son, Tom, and daughter-in-law, Donna, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; a brother, Jon L. Gwinn, and wife, Brenda, of Zellwood, Flori-da; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Leona’s life will be held at a later date, with details as yet undetermined.
In lieu of flowers or any other gifts of sympathy, the family suggests that donations in her memory be made to any worthy charitable organization that provides assistance to the sick, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
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