By Jared Lindell
There are few things stronger than the bond shared by family. Family is there from day one, and no matter what trials you face in your life, you can always count on family. In honor of a very special family member, the Leona M. Spoon Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation by her son, Ward, and husband, Bill, in 2001.
Leona Spoon knew all too well the importance of family and the care and support it provides in a young person’s life. Leona was not brought up in a typical family unit, as she spent most of her childhood being cared for in foster homes. Such was also the case with her husband, Bill. Growing up in such situations, Leona and Bill held a strong appreciation for the love and support their foster families provided to them. In addition, Leona and Bill met each other through their separate foster families. Overall, their experiences showed them that foster care can bring a positive outcome to a child’s life.
Leona and Bill Spoon were married in 1955. After marriage, Leona and Bill wanted to have a family of their own, so they had three children. However, due to their experiences growing up, they felt a strong need to bring a positive family influence to children who did not have family of their own. This led to the Spoons fostering children, just as they were fostered many years back. Over a 20-year period, the Spoons fostered over 50 children. Perhaps a better statement is that over 50 children were given a chance at a life they might not otherwise have had, if not for Leona and Bill Spoon’s care.
Aside from providing a chance for a better life for the many children she fostered, Leona Spoon gave of herself in other ways. In the late 1970s to early 1980s, she worked as a home health care aide for the elderly. In this role, Leona provided private care to elderly individuals who could no longer care for themselves. In addition, for many years, Leona, along with Bill, participated in the “Fresh Air Program” that brought a child from the inner-city of New York into their home each summer. This, again, demonstrated Leona’s desire to bring greater life experiences to young ones less fortunate.
Family continues to be important to the Spoon Family, and this is shown by the celebration of their 13th Family Reunion this past Sunday. The reunion is held every year in Stockton, so the family can catch up on old times and celebrate their lives together. The reunion has taken on a greater meaning since Leona Spoon passed away in 2001. Now, instead of just holding a reunion, the family also utilizes the event as a fundraiser to benefit many good causes in the local region, including the Leona M. Spoon Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation. The purpose of this fund is to benefit two causes close to Leona’s heart being the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Humane Society.
At this year’s reunion, the family gathered to donate $1,000 to fund, showing the same type of family commitment that Leona demonstrated while also assisting good causes. If you would like to make a donation to the Leona M. Spoon Memorial Fund, contact the Community Foundation at 661-3390. This fund will ensure that Leona can continue providing care for those in need, just as she did every day of her life.
Published in the August 27th edition of The Post-Journal