LaVona Lee Smith Lemons, 86, passed away peacefully on July 21 in Loveland, Colorado. Her parents, Ronald and Edna Smith, her sister, Joann Horst, and granddaughter, Emily Salisbury, precede her in death. Born in Crawford, Nebraska, she is survived by her husband of nearly 61 years, Larry D. Lemons of Loveland, Colorado and her three children and seven grandchildren. Those children are Jay Lemons (Marsha) of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, Jill Doty of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Holly Salisbury (Troy) of Fort Collins, Colorado. The grandchildren are Katie Doty Dickensheets (Bobby), Drew Doty (David), Olivia Lemons, Magdalene Lemons, Thomas Lemons, Meredith Lemons and Jared Salisbury.
LaVona was a graduate of Crawford High School in Crawford, Nebraska, and also a graduate of Chadron State College. She taught home economics in Grand Island, Chadron and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She married Larry Lemons on August 17, 1958 and together they raised three children in a loving home that was cherished by countless family and friends in Scottsbluff, NE.
While in Scottsbluff, LaVona served as a substitute teacher, a homebound instructor to children and youth battling illness, worked in the library at Nebraska Western College, where she later served as a coordinator of a literacy and high school completion program, and she was a teacher for the children of migrant farm workers. She was a natural born teacher, who loved her students, while at the same time holding them and others to high standards. In Scottsbluff, LaVona was a devoted member of PEO Chapter GA where she served in a variety of leadership roles, including president.
She and Larry moved to North Platte, Nebraska in 1987. In North Platte, LaVona served as the coordinator of volunteer services for the North Platte Public Schools. She became a valued community leader in North Platte involved in many community organizations including PEO Chapter HO, the North Platte Regional Airport Lee Bird Field and she founded a living history group that brought the wisdom and experiences of elders to the benefit of students and others in the North Platte region. For her leadership and efforts in the living history organization the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation honored her as a recipient of its Good Neighbor Award.
Throughout her life, she and Larry were dedicated members of the United Methodist Church, where they served as volunteers and congregational leaders in both Scottsbluff and North Platte, Nebraska. In 2013, Larry and LaVona moved to Loveland, Colorado to be near their daughters, Jill and Holly. They became residents of the Mirasol Senior Living Community, where they developed many new friendships, and where in August of 2018 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
LaVona was an incredible daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was a woman of great strength and was devoted to serving the needs of others. There was always room for one more at her dinner table and there was an endless supply of brownies, cookies and other deserts for all who visited she and Larry whether in Scottsbluff, North Platte or Loveland.
The family wishes to thank the staff of the Green House Homes at Mirasol, where LaVona has resided since the spring of 2018, and also expresses its gratitude to the staff of the Pathways Hospice of Northern Colorado, who along with her caregivers from Green House Homes, blessed her every need during her final days.
An Open House will be held at the Events Center at the Mirasol Senior Living Community in Loveland, Colorado on Friday, July 26 from 1:30 – 3 pm.
Her family will also host a celebration of life and homecoming service for LaVona in Crawford, Nebraska on August 31, 2019 at 3:30 pm at the Crawford Community Center at 1005 1st St, Crawford, NE 69339.
For additional information about the memorial events, please see (gatheringus.com and searching for LaVona Lemons).
In lieu of flowers, gifts in LaVona’s memory may be made to the Larry and LaVona Lemons Scholarship Fund at Chadron State College, 1000 Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337 or to
the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 (or alz.org).