Sylvia Leone Leiseth, 74, of Watford City, N.D., passed away Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, at Horizon Assisted Living in Watford City.
Sylvia was born July 7, 1945, at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Williston, N.D., to Clarence and Julia (Austad) Leiseth. She was named for one of her mother’s piano teachers. She spent her very early years on a farm south of Arnegard, N.D., and attended grades one and two in Arnegard. The family moved to Watford City in 1953, where Sylvia attended school, graduating in 1963. She attended Dickinson State Teachers College for one year. Recognizing her amazing artistic ability, her parents sent her to an art school in Omaha, Neb., for three years. Her art works from this period were highly detailed and realistic - what a gift! (Too bad her bedroom was not a reflection of her attention to detail.)
Sylvia returned to Watford City, where she became an integral part of the city. She served for many years as curator of the McKenzie County Museum where she had an opportunity to educate visitors to the history of McKenzie County, its people and events. She was a janitor at the First International Bank for a short time and then at the Watford City Post Office. She LOVED her job at the post office because she could visit with the people and share her jokes! Even after being somewhat disabled with her rheumatoid arthritis, she continued with her cleaning chores and her happy disposition.
Sylvia spent many years babysitting for families. She touched the lives of many, many children. In later years, she was a live-in companion and housekeeper for numerous senior citizens.
She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church, the First Lutheran Church Bell Choir, Women of the ELCA, Hope Circle, and served a three year term on the church council. She was also a member of the Watford City Community Theater.
Sylvia was a learner. She took a Bible class and took it upon herself to “Spread the Good News.” She taught many classes and amazed everyone with her knowledge and insight. She studied Norwegian. She was a formidable competitor in trivial pursuit. It was best to be on her team. (Her library must contain hundreds of books of trivia and jokes).
Sylvia had many more talents. She, of course, played piano (it was a given in our upbringing). She could read music but found it much easier to play by ear.
As a freelance artist she painted murals in many store windows for the holidays. She was most proud of the huge mural she painted on one wall of the First Presbyterian Church. She also illustrated the North Dakota State Elementary Music Curriculum in July of 1971.
Sylvia is remembered for her many years of hosting a yard party and she invited EVERYONE. A highlight of her life was a surprise 50th birthday party in her honor!
Sylvia is survived by her sisters, Julie Claire Schwartz and her husband Bruce, Marcia Hansen and Sharon Waterman; nieces, Kelley Berger, Randi Hanson, Kristin Oban, Kimberly Hemphill; nephews, Doran Schwartz and Jason Knudson; and numerous grandnieces and nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Julia Leiseth; niece, Kayla Curtis; grandnephew, Shawn Oban, Jr. (infant); and brother-in-law, Howard Hansen.
It was Sylvia’s desire that her body be donated to the University of North Dakota for medical research. Her remains will be interred near her paternal grandparents at the Zoar Cemetery at a later date.
The family wishes to thank everyone for being her friend, (putting up with her endless jokes), and for your many acts of kindness and love. Most important to Sylvia was helping people, making herself useful and making people happy. It is her hope that her funeral is a joyous celebration of her earthly life!
Funeral services for Sylvia were held Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, at First Lutheran Church in Watford City, with Pastor Rob Favorite and Pastor Mark Honstein officiating. Visitation was Thursday, Nov. 14 2019, at Fulkerson-Stevenson Funeral Home in Watford City. Remembrances, condolences and pictures may be shared with the family at www.fulkersons.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the charity of your choice.