Leta Carolyn (Wilke) BrantAugust 22, 1925 ~ March 13, 2017 (age 91)
HIRAM RAPIDS - MANTUA – Leta Carolyn (Wilke) Brant peacefully passed surrounded by family on March 13th, 2017 at 91 years young.Born in Hiram Township, Ohio on August 22nd, 1925 she was the daughter of the late Frank and Mayme (Loomis) Wilke. Leta was the oldest of five children and fondly recalls summers playing with her siblings and cousins in the cool dirt beneath the granary on her grandparents farm. She grew up in Portage County and, in 1943, graduated from Hiram High School. In the midst of World War II, ever the patriot, Leta found employment in Kent at the C. L. Gougler Machine Company where she made gaskets for tanks and later at Twin Coach where she bucked rivets on airplane tails – a real life “Rosie the Riveter”. As 1947 dawned, her beau, Richard “Dick” Earl Brant, promised they would wed by the end of the month, and, a man of his word, they married January 31st and enjoyed 48 years of marriage as true supportive partners. The loving couple were blessed with five children, starting with a set of twins in 1948 - a boy and a girl - followed by three more charming girls. Leta encouraged each child to become artists in their own right and all adored their mother. The family set their homestead in Hiram Rapids where Leta grew bountiful flower and vegetable gardens, tended a small orchard and proudly taught her children how to cook, as well as preserve their harvest by canning. And canning. And canning. Leta was a talented seamstress, sewing everything from pajamas to prom dresses and taught her skills to others at the 4-H Club. A lifelong quilter, with nearly every grandchild and great grandchild receiving an original, she also donated her quilts and crafts to many causes, including the R.C.C.A. (The Hiram Rapids Church and Cemetery Association) which provided quilts to those in need and raffled others for Church repairs. An artist in multiple mediums, she used her very first paycheck to buy a Kodak camera and captured family memories on film, being sure to ALWAYS include names and dates on the back. Leta’s life focused on family and if it was the last Sunday in July, you could bet she was at the Harmon-Loomis reunion where she tirelessly served as historian for decades. She was instrumental in amassing an extensive collection of family photos and genealogy information for the 125+ year-old gathering – where, after grace, the grandkids would make a beeline for the familiar mint green Tupperware full of Leta’s famous potato salad. In 1996, after Dick’s passing the year before, Leta moved into a mother-in-law suite in Mantua Township with her daughter Amy and family, where she doted on her youngest grandchildren, cooked, cleaned, crafted and lived happily for the next 21 years. Leta became one of the “Hiram Farm Grandmas” and canned jar after jar of jams and jellies – all to support the Farm. And her amazing apple butter… worth its weight in gold. At age 88, Leta was named as Volunteer of the Year for her service. Family could always count on a card from Leta for birthdays, several of her gingerbread men every Christmas, and jelly beans on the dining room table every day of the year. She was sure to spoil children with strawberry Quik, Combos and lots of hugs. Conversely, she insisted on using the absolute hottest dishwater on the planet and no grandchild was spared its wrath. Leta was ferried by her granddaughter Erin, whom she affectionately dubbed her “Chauffeur”, and enjoyed making crafts with her sister, Betty. She attended the yearly reunions for Hiram High School and also delighted in monthly evening jaunts to Pennsylvania to meet with her in-laws. A faithful Cleveland Indians fan, Leta was thrilled when her favorite player, Coco Crisp, returned to the team and took the Tribe to the World Series. Survived by her daughters, Lucinda (Michael) Zuccaro of Cleveland, Edith “Edee” (Rod) Kirkendall of Dover, Amy (Fred) Sittner of Mantua, daughter-in-law Nora Brant of Mantua, son-in-law Larry Greer of Charlotte, NC, and sister Betty Smith of Southington, Leta was the beloved Grandmother to eleven grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren as well as countless nieces, nephews and other loved ones. Leta was preceded in death by her husband Richard Earl Brant; her twins Cal Brant and Carolyn Greer; granddaughter Meghan Brant; brothers Lester Wilke and Frank Wilke Jr., and sister Elsie Owens. Calling hours will be Thursday March 16, 2017 from 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. at the Green Family Funeral Home and Crematory Service, 4668 Pioneer Trail at the corner of St. Rt. 44, Mantua, Ohio 44255 and where her funeral service will be held Friday March 17, 2017 at 10:00 A.M. with Pastor Chad Delaney officiating. Final resting place to follow at Riverside Cemetery in Hiram Rapids. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to one of following: Hiram Farm Living and Learning Community (Agricultural Setting For Adults on the Autism Spectrum), PO Box 157, Hiram, Ohio 44234; or the Calvin R. Brant Memorial Fund (Small Local Needs) or the Meghan Brant Memorial Fund (Scholarships & Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Research), both at PO Box 488, Mantua, Ohio 44255. We would like to continue the family’s support of these causes about which Leta cared deeply. ‘N Stuff. Her obituary, video tribute, condolences and memories may be shared at www.greenfamilyfuneralhome.com.