Leola A. Born

Leola A. Born

August 29, 1925 - March 19, 2023

Leola A. Born

August 29, 1925 - March 19, 2023


Leola A. Born
August 29, 1925 – March 19, 2023

Born in a rural farm community in South Carolina on August 29, 1925, Leola Agnes Pruitt was the second of five children born to Lewis and Ada Pruitt, both natives of the Carolinas. A veteran of World War I, Lewis moved the family to Cheraw, S.C., about the time of Leola’s birth, in order to take a job at a local mill. The family’s security was short-lived. By the time Lee was four, the Great Depression had arrived, and her father, like millions of Americans, was out of a job.

For the next few years, the family endured some tough times, and the siblings had to pitch in to keep the family afloat. Brother James was in charge of milking the family cow, while Lee (as Leola was known to family and friends) would churn the milk into butter to be sold to neighbors to help make ends meet. Lee’s parents created a large garden to feed their family and others. Eventually, with help from the Veterans Affairs Office, the Pruitts were able to purchase the nearby Northside Grocery Store, which sustained the family and was passed down to brother James years later.

When the Depression eased in 1939, Lee was in high school where she excelled both academically and athletically, playing basketball all four years. During her senior year, Lee took an additional course in stenography, hoping to find work after graduation that would finance her way into college so she could study to become a teacher. Those plans were thwarted, however, as America’s War effort ramped up, and boys from her high school class were being drafted. Lee realized her small South Carolina town held no future, and decided to follow her older sister, Myrtle, to Washington D.C., where she found a civilian job working for the United States Navy Department, within walking distance from the boarding house where she and Myrtle shared a room.

During the three years that Lee worked for Uncle Sam, she was introduced to a young engineer named Bill Born. As the War wound down, Bill was offered an engineering job at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, where he ultimately enjoyed a successful 30-year career. Lee and Bill were married in Washington D.C., in 1946, but quickly moved to Beaver, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, where Westinghouse was headquartered. There, among the tree-lined streets on the banks of the Ohio River, Lee and Bill raised their daughters—Donna, Barbara and Cheryl, each born three years apart.

While raising a family, Bill enrolled at nearby Geneva College to complete his engineering degree. Later, while her daughters were in their teens, Lee attended night school at Geneva College, earning her degree in Education, the same year eldest daughter Donna graduated from Penn State. Lee accomplished this feat while managing a family of five, andstarting a preschool in her basement. With a college degree under her belt, Lee finally fulfilled her life-long dream, becoming an elementary school teacher at which she excelled for the next fifteen years.

Lee and Bill retired to Thousand Oaks, California, in 1987, to be closer to their children and grandchildren, and were blessed with healthy lives throughout much of their 68 years together. Lee volunteered at Los Robles Hospital for over 25 years, where she led the trips and tours committee for the Senior Friends group. She took groups to visit places all over California, and even to Mexico and England. After Bill succumbed to cancer at 92, Lee was persuaded to move to Freedom Village, a retirement community in Lake Forest, near where her three daughters now lived. Lee Born passed away on March 19th at the age of 97 and will join her husband Bill at the El Toro Memorial Park, in Lake Forest. Lee is survived by three daughters, Donna Farris of Mission Viejo, Barbara Hogan of Lake Forest and Cheryl Lamont of Huntington Beach, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the Family requests that tax deductible donations be sent to Healing Odyssey, 23785 El Toro Road, Lake Forest, CA 92630.


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