Iva Fearon Leiter

Posted Sept. 21, 2012, at 8:09 p.m.

BROWNVILLE JUNCTION – Iva Fearon Leiter died peacefully Sept. 20, 2012, at home as a result of complications of Alzheimer’s disease. She was able to live at home during the last four years in the care of her devoted husband and three daughters. Throughout these years she maintained her sense of humor, grace and dignity. Iva was born April 9, 1923, in Brownville Junction, the first of four children to Joseph and Nora (Boyce) Fearon.

After graduating from high school she enrolled in the nursing program at Massachusetts General Hospital. While training as a scrub nurse in the operating room she met Laban Leiter, a Harvard medical student. In 1945, Iva received her registered nursing degree, Laban graduated from medical school, and they married and moved to Cincinnati. There Iva worked at Holmes Hospital while Laban completed his internship. In subsequent years, Iva worked as an office nurse in Martinsburg, W.Va., and as a surgical nurse at Veterans Affairs Hospital, Denver. After three years in Manchester, N.H., Laban and Iva moved to Portland, where Laban started his medical practice in their house in Portland’s west end. Iva managed a whirlwind household, supported Laban’s busy home based practice, and raised their six children – all of which she did with much love, creativity and patience. As the children grew Iva became active in community affairs, including Portland Model Cities, United Way and Portland Visiting Nurse Association. Iva was initially a board member on Visiting Nurse Association, then chairperson. She served many dedicated years as member, chair and president of the board of Community Health Services. During her first presidency she developed and implemented the merger of three small agencies to form CHS; during her second presidency she guided the agency through major changes resulting from the rapidly changing health care environment. In 1986 Iva was awarded the Roselle W. Huddilston Award by Maine Lung Association for her distinguished service and outstanding contributions in the field of health to the people of the state of Maine. After her service with CHS and Laban’s retirement in 1991 Iva enjoyed spending time with her children and three grandchildren. She also enjoyed the creativity and camaraderie of her rug hooking group. Iva was a consummate cook and loved to bake bread. Many plates were lovingly filled with her creations throughout the years. She was also a prolific reader whom friends and family sought out for advice and lively discussion.

Iva is survived by her husband of 67 years; children, Bruce and wife, Meredith, Karl and wife, Marion, Elizabeth and husband, Dale, twins Janet and John, and Susan; and grandchildren Sarah, Melissa and John. She is also survived by a sister, Maxine Davis; brother, Joseph Fearon; Margaret Fearon, widow of her brother, Ross; several nieces and nephews. Iva’s family is grateful to Laureen Adams and Theresa Begin for their committed care during these four years. Special thanks are also extended to Dr. Richard Marino for his professional and compassionate care.

There will be no service per her wishes. Appropriate family gatherings and remembrances will be held at a later time – and in perpetuity. Those wishing to honor and remember her life may contribute to Alzheimer’s Association, Community Health Services or charities of their choosing. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.hobbsfuneralhome.com.

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