Leota Olney, age 86, of Prosser, entered into rest on April 8, at Hospice at The Chaplaincy in Kennewick.
Donations may be made to the Prosser United Methodist Church or Hospice at the Chaplaincy. You may leave an online message of condolence for the family at www.prosserfuneralhome.com.
Leota was born in Jessup, Iowa March 4, 1928 to Edward and Julia (Ford) Olney. The family later moved to Fortworth, Texas. In 1940, when Leota was in the 9th grade, the family decided to move to Prosser to be closer to her mother's relatives. They settled on 40 acres of land, on Old Inland Empire where Chardonnay Avenue is today, and the family worked the farm together.
After graduating from Prosser High School, Leota attended Central Washington College where she earned her teaching degree in 1949. She taught 3rd and 4th grade in Yakima for two years. In 1951 she joined the family's business at Olney's Furniture and Carpeting.
Leota became the first female Prosser Chamber President in 1973. Leota served on countless committees, clubs and boards and was proud to have been a member and past president of the Business and Professional Women's Club. She donated her time volunteering on the float committee, at the Benton County Historical Museum and remained involved in her Family's Scholarship fund for graduating high school students. Over the years she also served as United Good Neighbors Chairman, on the United Methodist Church board and with Friends of the Library.
A strong advocate of school activities and youth, she gave volunteer service as a Camp Fire Leader for a number of years and was an avid school supporter and sports fan. In 1975, she was the recipient of the Prosser Outstanding Lady the Year award. Leota was a faithful advocate of Prosser and her strength of character, humor and optimism in this community will be truly missed.
Leota enjoyed the performing arts, opera, plays, classical music, reading and continuing her education. She also enjoyed her morning coffee meetings at Café Villa with her good friends.
Leota believed that the extended family is what made life meaningful to her. She was beloved and admired by her nieces and nephews, Patricia Helton and husband, Tom of Kennewick, Diana Martin and husband, Russell of Portland, OR and Kitty Kay Olney of Houston, AK; and numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews. She served as their matriarch and had a profound influence on all their lives.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Julia Olney, her brother, Forrest Olney and his wife, Cathryn.
A Graveside service was held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 at the Prosser Cemetery. Visitation was scheduled for Monday, April 14, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Prosser Funeral Home.