Leah Center – Park Rapids Enterprise

Leah Ann Center, 84, died on the morning of Nov. 3, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. Leah was born on August 16, 1937 in Waukegan, Illinois to Joseph A. Litman and Pearl Coopersmith Litman. She attended Northern Illinois University and earned a degree in elementary education. She also received her master’s degree from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While preparing for her high school diploma, she met her wonderful and lovable husband, Bob Center, and they married in 1957.

She was a wonderful mother, raising two lovely, successful children who each raised two lovely, successful children. She adored the little ones, her own, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and the children of others with whom she spent so many happy hours throughout her life. It’s hard to say who had the best fun with whom!

She was a second grade teacher in Waukegan, Illinois for over 30 years. She retired at least twice but came back because she loved children so much.

Leah and Bob bought a house on Fifth Crow Wing Lake in 1971 and made it their summer cottage for many years to escape the Arizona summers.

Once she finally retired from class, Leah was able to go to Minnesota more often and spend time on the lake with her family and friends. After her husband Bob passed away in 2003, after 46 wonderful years of marriage, she continued to divide her time between Arizona and Minnesota.

In 2004, she met the one who would become the second love of her life, Carl de Almeida.

On their first date, he brought her a yellow rose and continued to do so throughout their relationship. It was a special sign of this cowboy’s love for his beloved.

Carl enjoyed life with Leah and cared for it, even in the face of blindness that prevented him from seeing the faces of his precious family and friends and the outdoors that she cherished so much. She embraced Carl’s family and always included them as her own. Some of his happiest moments in recent years have been trips to Massachusetts to be with Carl’s beautiful extended family. Leah died on the 17th anniversary of her very loving and devoted relationship with Carl.

Leah was so much fun, and that was the cornerstone of her relationship with her “Cowboy” Carl. She loved even the naughtiest jokes, and the sound of her laughter was contagious. She was extremely sharp and cultured. She enjoyed discussions on all types of topics and was an avid learner. She enjoyed spending hours spending hours with her family and friends. She played like a kid, she loved being on the boat or riding the 4×4 with Carl. She loved parties of all kinds with games and costumes and people having a good time together. When she could still see, she took ladies-only trips with her best friends and had some great adventures to regale us after. She took her daughter, daughter-in-law and favorite niece on a Caribbean cruise ‘just for fun’ – a trip they will never forget.

Leah and Carl have traveled extensively together. Carl’s constant vigilance kept her safe and she saw the world through his eyes, savoring every minute of their time together exploring the places they were able to visit and engaging with people from all over the world.

Leah Center was one of the most tender and loving people to ever grace this earth. His kindness and compassion were boundless. She always carried people and animals in her heart. Leah was a lady of beauty and kindness. She appreciated every little thing, from a thoughtful word to the splendor of nature around her.

She is survived by her dedicated and passionate Cowboy, Carl de Almeida of Sun City, AZ, her dearest children; Steve (Debbie) Center of Nevis, MN, Carole (Daniel) Bell of Phoenix, AZ, his beloved grandchildren; Joel and Deanna Center, Aaron Bell, Shoshana Suleynova and her cherished great-grandchildren; Ovadiah, Devorah, Elishevah and Yeshaya. All are mourning the loss of their beloved matriarch Leah. She is also survived by her many close friends in both states.

The most defining thing about Leah was her unbridled, innocent love of life. She never gave up on the goodness of the world and believed with all her might that each of us can do our part to make life for everyone and everything on this planet a little sweeter. The way she lived is her legacy and will continue to be an inspiration to those of us who have known the fierceness of her commitment to a kinder, more loving universe. Now we have to pay without it. For one small person, her impact on all of us was huge and she will live on in our hearts forever. (And every time we see a yellow rose.)

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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