Mauna Loa Calliham Cleek passed away on August 22, 2011, at the Ussery-Roan Texas State Veteran’s Home in Amarillo.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church of Panhandle on Thursday, August 25, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. The family will have a private graveside service preceding the memorial service. Military Rites are by DAV Chapter 26. She will lie in state from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at Boxwell Brothers in Panhandle.
Born on March 24, 1922 to James Paul and Marion Proctor Calliham at their home near Conway, TX, Mauna Loa became a part of one of the Panhandle’s pioneer farming and ranching families. Her early school years were spent at the Conway school and in 1938, at barely 16 years old she graduated from Panhandle High School. She attended Texas Tech for two years before transferring to her beloved University of Texas in Austin. After graduating in 1942 she taught high school English in Phillips, TX. In 1944, feeling the call of duty, she enlisted in the WAVES of the United States Navy. After basic training in New York, she was stationed in San Diego. She was very proud of her years of service during WWII and took delight in participating in many 4th of July parades in Panhandle.
At the end of the war she returned to Panhandle and was a secretary for the Federal Land Bank office. She soon met Louie Cleek who had returned to his hometown after serving in the Army Air Corps during the war. They were married on November 17, 1946, and spent the next forty-eight years in the farming and ranching business. She taught English for many years in the Panhandle secondary schools.
Mauna Loa was a faithful member and choir member at First United Methodist Church in Panhandle. She was a past member of Atheneum Club, Panhandle Country Club, and 55 Plus club. Bridge and crossword puzzles were her passions with the daily crossword puzzle being the first section of the paper she was interested in followed by the sports section. She spent many hours playing games with family members.
Mauna Loa was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and two sisters, Lola Sue Peck and Mary Nell Franklin Cox.
She is survived by her daughter, Donna Connor and husband Bill of Georgetown, TX; her son, Les Cleek and wife Jan of Panhandle; one sister, Paula Vance and husband Don of Panhandle; grandchildren, Paul Connor and wife Cristi and Cynthia Elden and husband Neal, all of Houston; Clay Cleek of Santa Fe, NM; Shea Shiel and husband Byron of Ft. Lauderdale , FL; Cole Martin of Tahlequah, OK and Lindsay Martin of San Antonio; great-grandchildren, Ainsley and Will Connor and Danica Elden of Houston; seven nieces and nephews; numerous grand-nieces and nephews and extended family.
The family would like to thank the staffs of Meredith House of Pampa and Ussery-Roan Texas State Veteran’s Home of Amarillo for the care they have given to Mauna Loa these last few years.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Panhandle, 600 Main, Panhandle, TX 79068; or to Alzheimer’s Association, 415 S.W. 8th Ave #300, Amarillo, TX 79101; or to a favorite charity.