Naomi Cook Honea and Huey Honea Sr. welcomed their new son, Leo Earl Honea to this earth on June 18, 1934. Leo was born at home on their farm just outside of Hazelhurst, Mississippi and passed away on Oct. 7, 2020 at home in San Manuel while taking a nap. He was the next to the oldest of four children in the family, 3 boys and one girl. In 1945, Leo and his family moved from Mississippi to Eloy, AZ where he finished school and graduated Santa Cruz Valley High School in 1952. Shortly there-after he joined the US Army, was stationed in Europe and was able to visit many places while being stationed in Germany. He was Honorably Discharged in 1959.
When Leo returned home from the Army, he married Virginia (Sissy) Kilman and worked in California but ultimately came back to Arizona and went to work building Lumus Cotton Gins. Sometimes these jobs were close to home but sometimes not, he always talked about working in Mexico putting gins together. He enjoyed the hospitality of the people there, the food and his semi ability to speak their language! It was during this time, that he and Sissy became proud parents of two children, Dede and Kyle.
In 1971 they moved to Camp Verde and Leo started his real career working in the “Log Woods”! This would be the defining part of his life…he started as a “sawyer” but ended up working all jobs including, managing sawyers and loppers, managing a very large chipping operation in Arizona, cutting thousands of cord wood on the Tejon Ranch in California and ultimately ended up as a partner in one of if not the best tree falling companies in the Southwest. Over these years, Leo made many, many friends that he cherished for the rest of his life. He was a true outdoorsman, living in the woods during the week, managing crews of men that were truly just that “MEN”. Leo could tell you if your saw was dull, how long a tree took to grow, which way it was going to fall, what the weather was going to do to production and how to properly cook “Camp Meat” for dinner. He also learned how to fry the absolute best Catfish in town!
It was during this time that he caught up with an old friend, Grace Halcomb from high school in Eloy and they married in January of 1993. They spent the next 27 years living in San Manuel where he commuted to work in the woods until retirement and permanently moved to the desert. He spent the next 15 years playing golf daily (he called it working) with friends and cutting down every tree that was unwanted within a 30-mile radius. Several of these times, we were just barely lucky enough to get traffic on the street to stop because there was a “Pine Tree” fixing to hit the ground!!
Leo was preceded in death by his parents, older brother Huey Honea Jr., and younger brother Devon Kirk Honea. He is survived by his wife Grace M. Honea, sister Lula Lafayette Diard, daughter Danielle (Dede) Marie (Walter) Robinson, Dede’s sons Ryan and Curtis, his son Kyle (Shannon) Honea, Kyle’s daughters Jastine and Tristine, son Tad (Cathy) Halcomb, daughters Brenna and Taylor and son Cole. There are also many great grandkids that Leo loved being around!!!
IF THERE ARE ANY TREES IN HEAVEN, I’M SURE HIS “ORANGE” SAW IS SHARP, FULL OF GAS AND OIL AND HE’S BUGGING “GOD” TO TURN HIM LOOSE!!
We’re asking for understanding and forgiveness as we can only have a small family service due to COVID-19. We know there are many people that would love to be there to offer their condolences and we’re so blessed to have so many friends. When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we will invite friends and family to gather at the Elks Lodge for an evening of remembering Leo. Thank you so much for all the calls, food, visits and messages…God Bless