Cleola (Landford) Birch-Leaston was born on April 14, 1921, in Spring Hill, LA to proud parents, the late Demmer and Della Landford. Cleola was the eldest daughter of seven children. Her parents passed away before she was 13 years old, leaving extended family & Cleola to raise and care for herself and six siblings, O.D., Henry (Buddy), Minnie Ola, Bessie Mae, Roger, & Karl (Jr.),.
She was a very compassionate person. Her devotion to helping her family has always been who she was. Because of her passion for caring for others, many relatives and friends were welcomed into her home.
Cleola was married to Odis Birch in 1936 and two children came from this Union, a son, Obbie & a daughter Versell.
In 1946, she and some of her siblings emigrated to Boston. In 1950, she joined New Hope Baptist Church, the first black congregation that built their own church. She was a proud founding member. She was faithful and attended services regularly until her hearing prevented her attendance. In 1964, she married Wilmer (Bill) Leaston. They hosted bible study in their living room. In 1965, She and Bill purchased three homes during a time that was racially charged due to segregation. She also helped family members emigrate North to Boston, opening her home to them. She was a devoted wife to Bill for almost 30 years. Their marriage lasted until his passing in 1991. Cleola lovingly provided a home for her brothers Henry & Roger during their illness until their deaths, caring for them until they passed away at home with her. Cleola always said "I'll help you" "I'll do what I can".
Cleola “kept” children (babysitting) from 1965 until the early 2000s, providing affordable childcare to working families, friends and neighbors. She was also a caring foster parent..
Throughout her life she worked hard in several different ways. She, along with her Parents and family, were sharecroppers & farmers, making $10 a week in LA. Cleola came to Boston to improve her life and the lives of her children. Her many jobs included working as a domestic, cleaning dormitories at Boston University, a presser at a Dry Cleaners, a BF Goodrich factory worker alongside brother Henry and other family members as well as being a Fulltime Homemaker, Landlord & many other jobs. She was a foster parent, loving each child that entered her home. Her works in this life speak for her.. How she lived her life speaks for her. We praise God for, and how Cleola walked before & beside us.
She was preceded in death by all of her siblings, Her two children Obbie and Versell and one grandson Dwayne. Cleola leaves to cherish her memory, 4 grandchildren Curtis and Jacqueline of MA., Petra Jean (Jeannie) of GA. and Karl (Terry) of NJ., 10 great grandchildren, William and Avery (Jacqueline), Shavona (Jeannie), Terry Jr., Eric, Nykia, Jaqwilla (Terry Sr.), Jayden, Josh and Jeremy (Curtis); 7 great-great grandchildren; William Ty, Zoe and Jacoree (William), Ezra and Cairo (Shavona). Colt (Jeremy), Syna (Terry Jr.) Nieces Dorothy Butler and Gwendolyn Landford of MA, Jessie Ruth Franklin of MI, Tara McCall-Smalls of MA, Pearlie Mae Landford of CA and 1 nephew Charles Landford Sr., of MA. and a host of relatives, neighbors and friends
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