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Leona Mae Drew-Arku
July 31, 1943 ~ June 20, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old
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Leona was born in New Orleans, LA on July 31, 1943, to the late Edward and Marie Drew. Leona, the oldest of 12 children, grew up in a loving family and developed a passion for hairstyling at a young age. After completing her education, she graduated as a hairstylist in 1967and soon established herself as a gifted professional with a keen eye for style and a warm personality.
Leona had several jobs in the “Quad City”; Fresh Pack, and John Deere, just to name a few. Leona was our superwoman, while working for John Deere she still managed to run a hair salon out of the basement of her home in East Moline, IL. After 10 years of working for John Deere, she retired. In 1979, Leona opened her first salon, “Leona’s House of Beauty,” in rock Island, IL. Her reputation for innovative hairstyles, exceptional service, and personalized attention grew, and she eventually moved her salon to a new area.
Her passion for doing hair landed her in Georgia in July of 1988, where she worked showcasing her talents and style on stage doing hair shows for Bronner Brothers and Revlon. In 1990 she opened a salon in Smyrna, GA, “Hair We R,” which also became a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike. In 2015, Leona decided to throw in the towel, the scissors and the comb and retired as a Master Hair Stylist.
Leona was the life of the party and always had a funny story or a joke to tell. She had a nickname for everyone, where she got them from, no one will ever know. What we do know is that she never forfot the name that she gave you and when she called you that nickname, you would answer. She met no strangers, had the gift to gab, and would keep you in the know of what was going on. Leona was a very funny woman and known for her kindness, generosity, and love of family and friends.
One of Leona’s favorite past times was reading the latest news or gossip with her subscriptions to Ebony, Jet, and National Enquiry. She also enjoyed sewing, crocheting, cooking, traveling, going to the casinos, and spending time with her loved ones. Leona loved to entertain, she was an avid cook and often hosted family dinners and gatherings, delighting everyone with her delicious meals. She also enjoyed exploring new places and was always eager to share her experiences with others.
After a long search, Leona reunited with her long-time friend and the love of her life, Acie Adams, the father of her oldest daughter, Annette Jackson. On August 31, 2002, Leona and Acie were united in marriage.
Leona was a member of Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church, Smyrna, GA, where she enjoyed attending services regularly for over 30 years.
Leona’s life will be remembered and her memories cherished by her children, Annette Jackson, Marietta, GA, Lorenco Lomas-Trice, Marietta, GA, Harmon Flewellyn (Inge), Bettendorf, IA, Carla Johnson (Terence) Atlanta, GA, grandchildren, Ryan Leivens, Iziah Swade Bogguess, Jazmin Leona-LaSha Adams, Paizley Jade Green, Brendan Carl Diaz, 11 Great-Grandchildren, siblings, Willie Mae Rhodes (IL), Cellie Drew (IL), Jessie Drew (IL), Luella Johnson (MO), Mary Cornell (GA), Rose Meadows (NE), and Robert Drew (IL), and special long-life friend, Claudia Giles, and a host of nieces and nephews who adored her.
Leona was preceded in death by her husband, Acie Adams, father, Edward Drew, mother, Marie Drew, brother, Eddie Drew, brother Orsbend Drew, sister, Mary Alice Ballard, and long-life friends, Colleen Flowers and Geneva Harris.
Leona’s loss is deeply felt by her family and friends, who will remember her for her funny sense of humor, warmth, kindness, and beauty. She will be deeply missed but forever remembered as a talented hairstylist, loving mother, sister, and devoted friend to many.