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Leone Gustafson

Leone Meredith (Seashore) Gustafson, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend to many and longtime resident of Hamilton County, Nebraska, passed away on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at the age of 95, at Memorial Community Care in Aurora.

A private family inurnment will take place at Monroe Cemetery northeast of Phillips, Nebraska, with plans for a memorial service to be arranged at a later date. Cards to the family, or memorial gifts to either New Hope Peru (Children's Home) or Aurora Evangelical Free Church, can be sent c/o The Olsons 1852 S. Marshall Circle, Lakewood, CO 80232. Higby-McQuiston Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at www.higbymortuary.com.


Leone Seashore was born on Christmas Eve in 1924, the daughter of Harry and Esther Seashore, in a farmhouse near Lake Pulaski just outside of Buffalo, Minnesota - a home without running water or electricity at that time. At the age of 11, Leone moved from the farm with her parents and younger brother, Roger, to downtown Minneapolis. After graduating from high school there seven years later in 1942, she began working for the Minneapolis Gas Company. In her six years with that company, Leone rose to serve as private secretary to one of the corporate Vice Presidents. On a voluntary basis in 1948, in connection with her continuing involvement with her church, Leone served as national secretary for the FCYF, the youth organization of the Evangelical Free Church of America. In the course of that work she met her future husband, Myron (Mike) Gustafson of Phillips, Nebraska, who subsequently served as national president of the same organization. It was in that same year that Leone left Minneapolis to attend Trinity Bible College in Chicago, Illinois, where she continued offering her secretarial gifts as secretary to the president of the College.

Mike and Leone married in 1950 and established their new household on Mike's childhood farm in south central Nebraska, where Leone became a "farm girl" once again, cooking large meals and collecting eggs, cleaning milk separators and bringing coffee and lunch out to the fields several times a day. She also became an integral part of her new extended community family, singing in the Monroe church choir as well as in a "Gustafson Lady's Trio", and giving birth to and raising three children, Debbie, Brad and Gary.

After twelve years on the farm, Mike and Leone moved their family twelve miles into the town of Aurora, where Mike became a partner for the next forty years in Anderson-Gustafson Real Estate, Farm Management and Insurance. Throughout her life and moves, Leone was enthusiastically involved in the life her church. Her youthful years were spent with her family as part of the congregation of First Evangelical Free Church in downtown Minneapolis. Upon moving to Nebraska, her first two decades of married life were spent engaged with her family in the life of Monroe Evangelical Free Church in rural Hamilton County. In 1969, she and Mike helped to found the Evangelical Free Church of Aurora, Nebraska, where Leone continued on with fifty more years of faithful participation.

In Aurora, along with her continuing involvement with church music, Leone expanded her love for singing by joining with others in formation of a patriotic community women's singing group called the Liberty Belles, singing alto with them for more than twenty years.

After her children were through college, Leone found meaningfully joyful work in the community beyond her own household. In addition to working as the hometown office secretary for the local State Senator, Maurice Kramer, she happened to walk into a popular local restaurant one day near the Interstate, and found there to be more than a few people waiting for a table and no hostess to seat them. So she simply picked up a few menus and said, "Follow me." Her act did not go unnoticed by the manager, and it was the beginning of a fun, five-year career, which she later continued with the same owners for many years in a downtown dress and gift shop located on the Square, called Monets. Leone served for several decades with a volunteer group at the local Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, where she continued working weekly with dear friends into her 90s. Leone loved to sing, she loved to laugh, she loved to serve. Her Colorado grandchildren, each of their spouses and all of her great grandchildren cherished their time over the years spent visiting Grandpa and Grandma Gus in Nebraska, and Mike and Leone welcomed and loved them all in return, each and every one.

Leone was preceded in death by one infant brother; her parents, Harry and Esther; her husband, Mike; and her youngest son, Gary. She is survived by one brother, Roger (Ardy) Seashore of Golden Valley, Minnesota; two children, Debbie (Robert) Olson of Lakewood, Colorado and Brad (Sally) Gustafson of Charleston, South Carolina; three grandchildren, Lindsey (Jon) Hodges of Lakewood, Colorado, Julie (Tony) Bolos of Arequipa, Peru, and Michael (Stephanie) Olson of Lakewood, Colorado; nine great grandchildren and the memories of many, many friends and beloved family near and far.

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