Leona Claire Nelson

Leona Claire Nelson passed away peacefully at her home in Shawnee, Colo. on March 31, 2020. She was 89 years old.

Leona was born February 25, 1931 to Joseph and Oma Smith in Tribune, Kan., the eighth of nine children. She grew up on the farm in western Kansas and became an accomplished horsewoman and gardener. She married Donald Peterson in 1948 and had four children, Larry, Jeanne, Michael and Marcia.

After moving to Colorado in 1954 and working on sugar beet farms and cattle ranches in northern Colorado, Donald and Leona divorced in 1960. She moved to Aurora and raised her four children alone for seven years before marrying Leroy H. Nelson in 1967.

Roy and Leona moved to the mountains in 1968 to a 75-acre ranch on Pleasant Park Road in Conifer where they raised horses, cows, chickens, rabbits and kids. Leona became involved with the local 4-H club as a leader and drove a school bus for Jefferson County Schools for 10 years, and was a member of Pleasant Park Grange.

Roy and Leona purchased the Shawnee Store in 1978 and moved to Shawnee in 1979, and opened the Shawnee Store. Leona became involved in Park County politics and shared her opinions with anyone who came in, calling the store the “HOPU – hotbed of political unrest.” She gave of herself to what she thought were worthy causes and was very involved, serving on the Republican Central Committee, the Park County Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment.

Leona served more than 30 years as a member of the South Platte Water Conservancy District and was on the Shawnee Water Consumers Association board of directors for more than 30 years.

She loved growing flowers and always had beautiful flowers growing in front of the store. Leona was also an expert at knitting and crocheting, and needlepoint sewing. She made and sold hundreds of baby booties, scarfs and mittens in the store over the years.

Leona was preceded in death by her eight siblings; her first husband Donald Peterson (2017); her second husband Roy Nelson (2007); her son Larry (2013) and daughter Jeanne (2015). She is survived by her two youngest children, Mike Peterson and Marci McGarvey, along with four grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and six step-great grandchildren.

A memorial service is being planned and will be held sometime this coming summer. In lieu of flowers, Leona wanted donations to be made in her name to the Mountain Peace Shelter in Bailey. Donations can be sent to PeaceWorks, P.O. Box 836, Bailey CO 80421-0836.