Denise Leeman, 70, passed on February 20, 2021 at Tracy Sutter Community Hospital. Although she passed from respiratory issues caused by pneumonia, her health had been compromised for many years.
Denise is survived by her 2 sons Jamison Leeman of Clearlake, FL and Kevin Leeman of Roseville, CA, her grandchildren, Stevie Leeman, Anthony Leeman, Kaitlin Belden, Marie Leeman, Riley Leeman, and Kane Hogan, all of FL and CA, her brother Steve Mallett and wife Linda Mallett of Casa Grande, AZ, her sister Michele Borges and husband Al Borges of Tracy, CA , stepbrother Richard Buckley, 10 nieces and nephews of CA, AZ, TX, and OH, 21 great nieces and nephews of CA, AZ, TX, and OH, and 3 great-great nieces and nephews of OH, and her BF Roylene Bailey of AL.
Denise is preceded in death by her father Neil Mallett, mother Constance (Cronin) Mallett, stepmother Eleanor Mallett, sister Kristi Wood, stepbrothers Ronald Buckley and Robert Buckley, niece Kari Santee (Wood), nephew Michael Wood, ex-husband Douglas Leeman and her BFF Jo Nyquist.
Denise Leeman was born in October 1950 in Quincy, MA. She came into this world as Denise Mallett, the daughter of Neil Mallett and Constance Mallett and the baby sister to Steve Mallett. They all packed up and move to Anaheim, CA when Denise was just 2 years old. While in Anaheim, they welcomed her younger sister Kristi Mallett. From Anaheim, they moved to Lompoc, CA and then to Santa Maria, CA where they welcomed yet another sister, Michele Mallett.
Denise grew up in the 60s and unless you’ve lived through it, you’ll never understand. Peace, Love and Hippy Beads! Denise move to Santa Barbara with her BFF Jo Thompson (Nyquist). From Santa Barbara, they moved to San Jose, CA where she met Doug Leeman. It was a whirlwind romance and they were married soon after in 1972. A little less than 2 years later, Jamison was born and exactly 2 years to the day after that, Kevin was born. They lived in Turlock, CA for 6 years. Denise and Doug went their separate ways in 1985.
In her 20s, 30s, Denise loved to party with friends and family (and 40’s-60s). She loved bowling and was on multiple bowling leagues over the years. She also played on softball and soccer teams. Once, she even broke her ankle playing soccer. Way to take one for the team!
Since her late 20s, Denise was an accounts payable specialist. She worked at Mackey’s Children Store in Willow Glen, CA. She worked for Foster Farms in Turlock, CA for many years and then Super Store Industries in Manteca, CA.
She was diagnosed with Lupus in her mid-30s and later with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In her 40s, she moved to Manteca, CA. Denise became a Grandma in her late 40s and loved spending time with her grand kids. She also babysat for friends and neighbors.
In her mid-50s, she moved to Tracy CA to live with her sister Michele, brother in-law Al and niece Stephanie and remained there until her passing. Even though she couldn’t live alone anymore, she was still loving life and still loved visiting with her extended family and friends. She took up card making and enjoyed creating elaborate cards for every occasion. As she got older, crafting cards got harder, but Denise always seemed to enjoy life. She loved listening to music and had her favorite TV shows that she watched faithfully like Ellen, Dr. Phil, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Yellowstone, This Is Us and many more. I think she recorded more shows than any of us.
Her 60th Surprise Birthday Party was a hit. She had no idea that old friends were coming to surprise her. I took her out for the day while Stephanie and Al got the house ready. When we got home, the house was filled with so many of her friends that she hadn’t seen in years. I truly believe that was a great day for her. She talked about it for days after.
When Denise was 63, we welcomed a new member into the household. Denise’s great niece Danielle. When Danielle was 5 and 6, she would often play cards, Candyland or Sorry with her Tia Denise. On special occasions, Denise would let Danielle paint her nails.
Even as the pain set in and health issues got worse, Denise fought long and hard to stay with us, but her fight is over now, and she can rest in peace.
We miss her with all our hearts, but we know that she is in a better place. God has his arms wrapped around her and she’s safe. We’re also pretty certain that Jo was there waiting for her and asking her why she took so long.
We love you and miss you Denise!
Until we see you again!
We will be having a Celebration of Life at our house sometime this summer when things have settled down. We will contact everybody when we set a date.
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