With profound sadness we announce the passing of Leona E. (Nicholas) Ross on Friday, May 22, 2020. Our loving and devoted mother and friend to all whose lives she touched. She left us while sleeping peacefully at the Eastgate Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in East Providence. She was in her 88th year. She was the wife of the late Haywood Ross. Born in Providence, RI, a graduate of Hope High School, she was the daughter of the late Walker S. and Mildred B. (Lincoln) Nicholas. She was the sister of Eunice Geron of Illinois, Jeanne Cabral of Rhode Island, Russell Nicholas of Rhode Island and the late Bernice Walker of New Jersey.
She is survived by her daughters, Cynthia Ross-Meeks and Amy L. Ross both of Rhode Island, a son in law, James Meeks, three grandchildren, Brittanny L. Taylor, Nicholas S. DeLuca and Mark A. Tomlinson, Jr., two great granddaughters, Ava L. DeLuca and Amelya P. DeLuca, as well as a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
Leona lived a full life as a wonderful mother, elder in the “Seaconke” Wampanoag Tribe, grandmother and great grandmother, sister, homemaker, Seamstress and worker in the retail and manufacturing sector. Leona was known for her highly skilled sewing, handbeading and pattern making abilities. She had her first paying sewing job at the age of 9 making an apron for a neighbor. In the many years she was a sewing instructor at the East Side YMCA and privately, a wardrobe mistress for local theater groups. She taught sewing techniques and assisted RISD fashion design students. She also made the gown for the very first Miss Black Rhode Island. Her expertise as a seamstress is well known throughout Rhode Island. Leona loved to dance, keep an immaculate house, and spend time with her family. Most of all she loved her family and instilled in her daughters strong values that have served them well.
Due to the pandemic, a celebration of life will be held at a later date as well as a Native American Celebration. As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to, Alzheimer’s Association, RI Chapter, 245 Waterman Street, #306, Providence, RI 02906.