Cover photo for Mrs. Leona F. Morrow's Obituary
Mrs. Leona F. Morrow Profile Photo
1919 Mrs. 2015

Mrs. Leona F. Morrow

August 7, 1919 — September 7, 2015

Leona Faye (Beebout) Morrow, 96, of Ainsworth, Nebraska passed away on September 7, 2015 at her home in Ainsworth. Leona, the fourth child of Rosa (Akert) and LeRoy Beebout was born at home on August 7, 1919 in Johnstown, Nebraska.
Earning the nickname "Giggy," because of her giggly nature, Leona had many fond memories of her growing-up years in Johnstown with her four brothers and three sisters. In addition to board games, dominoes, tents on the clothesline, and hiding lots of Easter eggs, she always remembered sitting as a young child in her father's lap and rocking, as well as gathering around the piano with her siblings and singing while her mother played. Playing baseball with her brothers, riding ponies with the Clark kids and spending time at her dad's newspaper office, the Johnstown Enterprise, filled her time! Saturday afternoons found her riding to Ainsworth in a Model A with her best friend, Mary Lynn (Burge) Mayfield, to attend the matinee and finish off with ice cream at Harr's. She learned to work at an early age, and not only did she wash and dry a lot of dishes, (because as she said, "they had a lot of them!") she also had a paper route. She would pick up her papers at the train depot, sometimes being scared by the bums sleeping inside the depot, and deliver the papers from one end of Johnstown to another, always accompanied by her white dog, Spitzy! Leona always loved animals; cats, dogs or even a bird!
Excelling in school was always important to her, and as an eighth grader she won first place in the Brown County Spelling Bee. Her teacher took her to Omaha, Nebraska for the state spelling contest where she made it two-thirds of the way through. Several other girls went too, and they all visited in the Omaha area for several days. Following her Johnstown High School graduation in 1937, where she was Valedictorian of her class, Leona took Normal Training from Chadron State College. She then taught elementary school at Brown County South 84 for one year, followed by three years in Cherry County. During her time teaching in Cherry County she thoroughly enjoyed living on the ranch with Frank and Helen O'Keif. One of the highlights of her teaching career was attending a teachers' workshop where John G. Neihardt read to them.
A move to Ainsworth found her boarding and rooming with Ruth McAndrew Kirkpatrick and working at Link's Drug Store for Mr. Daley Link. She enjoyed having her sister, Lois, boarding there at the same time. She then went to work for the J.P.Crofts/ United Dry Goods Store. During this time she boarded and roomed at Mrs. Enders house on the corner of 3rd and Osborne and had many great memories of the fun of having several other young people boarding there at the same time!
One day while working at the Dry Goods Store the fire whistle blew and a young man came running in and said, "Let's go to the fire!" She later married that young man, Eldon Morrow, on July 16, 1944. They began married life living for a short time in the country southwest of Ainsworth, before moving to town and eventually in 1957 building a home at 352 North Cedar Street, where Leona resided until her death.
In the early years of her married life, Leona worked as a "fill-in" at the Brown County Democrat newspaper and baked many pies for the local sale barn. In 1947, Eldon and Leona built and operated a lunch trailer concession stand, which they took to local ball games, farm sales and the Brown County Fair. This led to the building of the first Morrow's Drive In, which featured "soft ice cream," a new product in the area. Eventually, a root beer barrel was added and car hops sold ice cream cones as well as root beer in frosty mugs for five cents, ten cents and on up. In 1952 property was purchased on the east edge of Ainsworth and a larger drive-in was built. Additions in later years included carports, a dining room with an individual phone ordering service at each table and a game room. After having been in business for 28 years, the Drive-In was sold in 1977. In 1978, Eldon and Leona opened Discounts Sports, a store dealing in a variety of sporting goods equipment, and operated it in Ainsworth for 11 years. Eldon and Leona also helped granddaughter Mishayla purchase her first business, a shaved-ice truck. They spent numerous hours helping her work many special events such as kids' fairs, swim meets and the Comstock festivals. These were special times that were treasured by all!
During their married life Eldon and Leona enjoyed dances at Long Pine's Hidden Paradise, movies, and playing in several pitch and pinochle clubs. Leona loved tending to her flowers and vegetable garden and spent many an hour canning her harvest. Their retirement years afforded them the opportunity to develop a love for several stray cats and kittens in the neighborhood, thoroughly enjoying their company and making them a part of the family!
Leona's life was blessed with two daughters: Sherry in 1953 and Joyce in 1960. She loved to be in service to her family and took great pride in baking and cooking for them, as well as for others. She loved the Christmas Season and all the baking and decorating associated with it. As a member of the Ainsworth Junior Women's Club, Leona and Eldon made the first donation to the Christmas decorations in the Court House Park by donating the $25 they won in a Christmas home-lighting contest. During her daughters' growing-up years, Leona was a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader as well as an elementary school room mother several times. As a 76-year member of the United Methodist Church, she taught Sunday School and Bible School, belonged to the United Methodist Women's Susanna Wesley Circle and served on various committees.
Leona was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Eldon, of 61 years, Eldon; brothers Willard and Allan Beebout and sister Lois Beebout. Those left to cherish her memory are daughters Sherry Morrow of Kearney, Nebraska, and Joyce Richardson and husband, Kevin, of Broken Bow, Nebraska; granddaughter Mishayla Richardson of Omaha and her fiancé Tim Freburg; brothers Merlin "Turk" Beebout of Ainsworth and William Larmer "Pooch" Beebout, and wife Pat, of Lincoln, Nebraska; sisters Ardis Johnson and Shirley Burger both of Ainsworth; nieces, nephews, cousins and special caregivers Charolette Issler and Tammy Crooker.
Funeral Services were held on September 11, 2015 at the Ainsworth United Methodist Church with Pastor David Randall and Pastor Bruce Beebout officiating the service. Prelude music was provided by granddaughter, Mishayla Richardon playing, "Chloe's Song". Nephew, Monte Burger, and "In The Garden" and "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" accompanied by Sherry Campbell. The obituary was read by Tim Freburg. A flower tribute was given by nieces and nephews of Leona. Casket bearers were, Clay Blackman, Don Bartholomew, Chuck Seger, Will Williams, Fred Spearman, and Eldon Haas. Honorary bearers were, Millie and Wayne Rotschafer, Jean Clausen, Ed and Sally Grooms, Bonnie Evans, Ann Hoch, Mary Lynn Mayfield, Bill and Bev Williams, Eunice Wolf, Janette Denny, Deb Littell, D.V.M. and Jackie Cozad. Burial was held at the Ainsworth Cemetery under the direction of Hoch Funeral Home of Ainsworth. Memorials were directed to the Ainsworth Women's Club Courthouse Park Christmas Lighting Fund or to the Ainsworth United Methodist Church.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mrs. Leona F. Morrow, please visit our flower store.

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