Leah Gehlin Dunning, 79Published 5:14pm Sunday, February 10, 2013
Born: Oct. 23, 1933
Died: Feb. 6, 2013
Leah Gehlin Dunning, 79, entered into rest after a long illness at West Woods of Niles on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Leah was born on Oct. 23, 1933.
She married and had her children in the Wisconsin area.
She relocated to Florida for a brief time, before settling in Berrien County, where she lived the remainder of her life. She attended Lake Michigan College and earned her associate’s degree in electronics and worked at Heath Company in Stevensville. In her later years, Leah resided at Lakeland Specialty Hospital in Berrien Springs, which became her home for more than a decade.
Leah’s favorite activity was the Senior Olympics. She earned many medals, especially for the wheelchair race; she took first place all eight years she competed. During her time there, she was active in the Patient Association. She served on the board many times and was involved with raising funds for a bird aviary and building a playground for residents’ visiting children. Leah spent many hours making beaded jewelry and greeting cards to sell at fundraisers. Leah also kept busy crocheting blankets for newborns and lap pads for seniors.
Leah continued these charitable efforts when she moved to West Woods of Niles until the time of her death. Leah had a great love for horses. She was active in the rodeo in her youth and owned several in her lifetime. She was given the opportunity to ride again at the Therapeutic Equestrian Center through a program at Lakeland Specialty Center.
Leah was survived by 10 children, Bill (Darlene) Sokoloskis, Bob (Donna) Sokoloskis, Bud (Deb) Sokoloskis, Benny (Wendy) Sokoloskis, Barry Sokoloskis, Barney Burkhart, Berney (Ros) Sokoloskis, Bonnie Cope, Benita (Arvel) Shultz and Brad (Teri) Sokoloskis. She had 26 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. One sister, Bev Westman, and one brother, Carl Gehlin, preceded her in death. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at Brown Funeral Home, 521 E. Main St., Niles. Viewing hours will be from 8:30 to 10 a.m. with funeral services immediately following the viewing. Leah’s family requests memorial donations honoring her be directed towards Hospice Care, www.centerforsospice.org, or consider donating volunteer time at The Equestrian Center, www.tecfarm.org.
Arrangments are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, www.BrownFuneral-HomeNiles.com.