Obituary of Leona Jean Brannon Looper
Leona Jean Brannon Looper is now in the arms of her beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. She passed away on Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Tampa, FL. We daughters are praising God that she was able to remain in her own home and was cared for and surrounded by her loved ones to the very end. She will be greatly missed, but we are so happy to know that the Lord has given her a brand new body and has welcomed her into His kingdom saying, "Well done thou good and faithful servant." We rejoice in the knowledge that she has been reunited with our Daddy, Charles William Looper, and loved ones who were promoted before her.
She is predeceased by many beloved family members: Her father (Dewey Burl Brannon), her mother (Georgina Hadley Brannon), her brothers (Eugene Chini, Dewey Brannon and Jack Brannon), her sisters (Olive Brannon and Bette Brannon Hutton) and a Son-In-Law (Tim Hobbs).
As a teenager, Momma worked as a waitress in the restaurant her parents owned. Soon after, she worked in an ice cream shop in downtown Brooksville where a handsome young man would often frequent (because he had his eye on a certain young lady who worked there). Rumor has it, she made him a milkshake one day when he wasn't feeling well that "saved his life"! By that time, they were pretty sure they had each met their soul mate (turns out they were right, as they were happily married for 68+ years). After they were married, they moved to Tampa, and Momma worked at The American Can Company in Ybor City while Daddy attended The University of Tampa on the GI Bill to become a school teacher. After we girls were born, she sold Encyclopedias door to door, which we loved because we were now the owners of a brand new set of beautiful books filled with fun facts from around the world (way before Wikipedia existed). Many a book report was prepared with the aid of those invaluable books. Years later, she worked in the Principal's Office at St. Lawrence School serving as the Assistant to the Principal. In the early 70's, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which eventually progressed throughout her body and left her physically disabled (long before the invention of modern day medicines which help to prevent crippling). In spite of her physical restraints, she studied hard and passed the realtor exam. She enjoyed that line of work for a time until the demands were more than her body would allow.
Throughout the years, she and her Momma took many fun courses like cake decorating, sewing and hat making (as you may recall, hats were a very big deal back in the 40's and 50's - you had to have a hat to match every outfit)! When we girls were born, Momma enjoyed being a stay-at-home Mom. She always made beautifully decorated cakes for birthdays and weddings, which everyone loved. Since Daddy was a school teacher, he would usually have the summers off - leaving us with time to travel. Momma had the gifts of budgeting and being an amateur travel agent, so she planned our many camping trips across America and took advantage of every "educational opportunity" along the way. She would sew us girls matching outfits to wear on our trips (usually with a scarf or matching shirt for herself, as well). While camping, she would prepare delicious meals on our Coleman camp stove and heat up water with which to wash our dishes afterwards (another part of our "education" - washing dishes). While we didn't make it to the Midwest, we did visit almost every other state. Part of our "education" was learning how to put up and take down our tent in the dark, during rain storms and with huge spiders lurking about at State and National Parks (for about $2 a night). When we weren't traveling, we would camp near Brooksville. Our days were filled with swimming, riding Daddy's motorcycle, playing card games, riding our bikes, playing with our Barbie dolls and laughing (a lot)! We would especially love it when our cousins would come to visit. So much fun! Because of her budgeting and planning abilities, she blessed us with a lifetime of memories. In the early years of her diagnosis, when she was still able to drive, she audited classes at Hillsborough Community College. She was a very smart lady and was always learning new things. It was around this time that she took up painting. Even though she had no formal training (except through Bob Ross on television - whom she loved), she painted many beautiful pictures, which we treasure still today. She would paint, even when her body was hurting.
During our growing up years, Momma volunteered in many ways. She served as a Girl Scout Leader, led Sunday School and Women's classes at Church, helped with many Vacation Bible Schools (even creating her own VBS activities for children in her neighborhoods in Brooksville and in Tampa) and sewed many a costume. Momma had the voice of an angel, which she used for the glory of God. Now, she's singing in heaven to the glory of God. She served in the church choir singing as a soloist, in duets and trios and quartets, in weddings and was even involved in singing in fun variety shows under the direction of our church choir director.
Our parents were generous all of our lives. They not only gave regularly to their church, but they also gave extensively to support home and foreign mission outreaches around the world. They sponsored many short-term mission trips, helping to send others when they could not go themselves. They also supported many crisis outreach programs to feed the hungry and clothe those who were in need. At approximately the age of 60, many years after she had contracted Rheumatoid Arthritis, she and Daddy got to serve on a mission trip to Guatemala themselves. Momma continued to be generous after Daddy was gone, even on her meager disability stipend.
We are so blessed that God chose her to be our mother. She showered us with so much love and wisdom throughout our lives. She may be gone, but she will never be forgotten. We are rejoicing that we will see her again, as promised by the keeper of all promises, Jesus, through the resurrection of Christ. We were blessed beyond all words to be "her girls".
You are lovingly invited to join us as we celebrate her life together on Saturday, June 24th, at 10:00 a.m., at First United Methodist Church of Lutz, located at 960 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road, Lutz, FL. Burial to follow immediately at Lake Lindsey Cemetery, at 1:00 p.m., located at 22308 Lake Lindsey Rd., Brooksville, FL.
It was Momma's wish that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to support our brothers and sisters in Christ in Cuba. Checks can be written to First UMC of Lutz (please designate "Cuba Missions" on check memo line).
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