Leona Mae Magee, age 87, went home to Jesus Nov. 19, 2021. She was born August 10, 1934, in Inola, Oklahoma to Edward Ernest and Stella Naomi (Kennedy) Nicley.
Leona was born in the country six miles southeast of Inola, near Bull Creek. She and her twin sister, Leota, walked a mile - two ways - every day across the rugged countryside to attend Bull Creek School. When they moved closer to town a few years later, she attended Inola schools through graduation. She continued her studies at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1956, and then Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, for post-graduate studies. She taught in the Wichita school system for several years and then several more at Oklahoma State School for the Blind in Muskogee, OK. Leona met Darrel Lee Magee on a blind date set up by Leota and Darrel's cousin, Charles. In Leona's words, “I was charmed off my feet by this zany guy!” They dated for two years and married on July 4th, 1959, in Riverside Park under a huge live oak tree. Leona once wrote, “In honor of the occasion, we both smoked a big cigar and both got sick!” Darrel and Leona left Wichita late in the fall of 1965 and moved to land they had bought near Leona’s family ranch. It would be their home for the rest of her life
Leona was very active in her community and church. She was a faithful member of First Baptist Church of Inola. She played the piano and organ for worship services, taught Sunday School, served on numerous committees, and displayed the love and warmth of Christ to all she met and knew. She taught private guitar and piano lessons for more than 35 years to dozens and dozens of children and a few adults, as well. Leona loved her adventurous life with her husband, Darrel. It was filled with Darrel's Western Swing and Bluegrass gigs, cattle ranching, sharing knowledge of healthy living with friends, taking in beloved stray dogs and a few stray humans, too! She was especially close to her identical twin, Leota, with whom she shared a love of the Holy Scriptures, music, painting, flower gardening, and the deepest of friendship.
Leona is preceded in death by her parents, Edward Ernest and Stella (Kennedy) Nicley, and her brother-in-law, Dr. Frank R. Smith. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Darrel Magee, Inola, and twin sister, Leota Smith, Wichita, KS.