Thursday, 18 August 2022

Leona Nellie Edith Hughes, August 8, 1912-August 23, 2016

LEONA (Lee) Nellie Edith Hughes passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 23, two

LEONA (Lee) Nellie Edith Hughes passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 23, two weeks after her 104th birthday.

The youngest of six children, Lee was born in Calcutta in 1912 to Richard and Ella Battersby.

At the age of five, she was sent on a two-day train journey to boarding school in Shillong in the Himalayas where she remained until she was nine, returning home for just three months of the year.

In 1921, following her parents’ divorce, Lee returned to England by boat with her mother and three of her siblings.

The family settled in Finchley, north London, where they remained until the start of the Second World War.

They moved to Ruislip after all the windows in their house were blown out by a landmine in a neighbouring road.

On leaving school and completing a secretarial course, Lee took on two part-time jobs to help support her family.

Her first permanent job, at age 18, was with Sun Life Canada in London for whom she worked for 10 years.

During her time at Sun Life, Lee met Arthur, the love of her life. Arthur was an insurance salesman working for the same company and they spent the next 30 happy years together until, to Lee’s great sorrow, Arthur died following a heart attack, aged 63.

Lee and Arthur had two children, Pam, who was born in 1943, and Alan (1941).

Lee continued to work and support her family until her retirement in 1957. Over the years, she had many work placements and her most exciting role was for Time Life magazine during the time when Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met to discuss the situation with the Germans on a warship off Marrakech.

Lee was employed to type up highly sensitive and dramatic war reports sent in by courier — while the couriers stood by waiting to dash her work to the printers.

She also worked for a company that went on to become Burtons Biscuits during the time that chocolate chips were put into biscuits for the first time.

Lee and Arthur bought a house in Ickenham in 1954 where they lived with their children until 1960.

They then moved to Bledlow Ridge, near High Wycombe, and in 1968 moved on to Maidenhead, where Lee remained following Arthur’s death until she moved to Cookham.

At the age of 86, Lee left Cookham to live with her daughter and son-in-law Barry at their home in Rotherfield Greys, where she spent many happy years.

In 2011, following a fall during which she broke both her wrists, Lee was admitted to Watlington Sanctuary Care Home to recuperate but following Pam’s devastating lung cancer diagnosis and need for ongoing treatment, she decided to remain in the care home permanently.

Lee celebrated her 100th birthday with a tea party for family and friends at Phyllis Court Club in Henley and was delighted to receive a telegram from the Queen.

Sadly, Pam passed away three years later and Lee went on to spend a further two years at Watlington where she enjoyed the most exemplary care and was shown such kindness by all the staff — to the extent that she referred to them as her second family.

Lee was a remarkable woman who led a fascinating life, remaining stoical through difficult times to the end.

She enjoyed a full and varied social life and loved her family and many dear friends who will all miss her but will feel blessed to have had her in their lives for so long.

She loved flowers and was a talented gardener while her passion for music — both classical and modern — never left her.

As was her wish, Lee’s cremation has already taken place. She requested no ceremony and simply asked that we all remember her in happy times with happy thoughts.

Now reunited with her beloved Arthur and cherished daughter Pam, may she rest in peace.

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