Leeta GridlleyLeeta Packer Gridley, aged 94 years, died on January 11, 2011 at the home of her daughter Mary VanArdale in Trumansburg, New York.  Leeta was born on July 7, 1916 in Galeton, Pennsylvania to Otto and Loduska Packer.  She grew up surrounded by loving grandparents and a great grandmother.  Galeton was where she met and married Robert Gridley.

A great lover of learning, she broke tradition by being the first married undergraduate at Penn State.  She and “Bob” graduated from Penn State the same year, Leeta with a Phi Beta Kappa key.

Leeta and Bob lived in Boston while Bob got his degree at Harvard Business School and where son John was born.  As World War II approached, they moved to Washington, D.C. where Bob served in the U.S. Air Force during the war.  During this time daughters Mary and Karen were born.

After the war, Leeta and Bob moved back to the area in northern Pennsylvania where their families were, and finally settled in Wellsville, New York where they lived together and raised their children.

Following a divorce in mid-life, Leeta went back to college and obtained two master’s degrees, one in Library Science and one in English Literature.  She then served as the Wellsville High School librarian for 23 years.  She loved working with young people to inspire them to read and learn and overcome obstacles.  She was a devoted mother, aunt and grandmother; loved her home and garden, and ventured overseas several times.  She pursued genealogical research with her sister Betty and daughters.  She especially loved to study and write poetry, and was a lively storyteller, with a vivid and incredibly accurate memory.

Her heroic moment was when she rescued the high school library, which had been flooded perhaps due to an act of vandalism.  She salvaged the books by freezing them.  At the end of her teaching career, she was named teacher of the year.

In 1996, she moved to Roseburg, Oregon to live close to her son John and daughter-in-law Ann.  She started a new life there and volunteered in the library and the elementary school.  She lived there contentedly in her own home for fifteen years, with the assistance of family and care-givers.

She will be greatly missed by her family and the many friends she has made and supported over the years.  She is survived by her three children and their families:  John Gridley and wife Ann of Roseburg, Oregon and their four children:  Lauri, Ken , Donna and Alysia;  Mary VanArsdale of  Trumansburg, New York and her son Mac Van Arsdale, and Karen Gridley and husband Wolfgang Ronnefeldt of Willits, California.  She has seven great grandchildren.  She is also survived by three nieces and their families:  Susan Kissee, Judy Barnes and husband Russ, and Gloria Bittner and husband Tom.  A graveside memorial service will be held at a later date.