Leona Watson

Obituary of Leona Watson

Leona Watson died on hospice early in the morning May 3, 2023 in Arvada, Colorado after a rapid health decline. Myrtle Leona Buckendahl was born August 14th 1921, on a farm in Ault, Colorado to parents Bertha Donne Johnson Buckendahl and Ernest Henry Buckendahl, pioneer Colorado homesteaders. At age three with three older siblings, George, Evelyn, and Wanita she moved to a farm West of Loveland, where her youngest sister Bette was born.


She attended Big Thompson Elementary, and later Washington Elementary living in Loveland’s East side.    As “the bigger and stronger girl” she helped her dad in his trucking business hauling supplies up the old Big Thompson Road to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. In 1939 she graduated from Loveland High School, where she was active in choir and played the trumpet. After high school she and Wanita graduated from Colorado State Hospital Nursing School, where she met and married Robert (Bob) Clifford Watson.


They moved back to Loveland living with her parents while both sought work and World War II found Bob enlisting in the US Army as a military policeman with Leona following him and finding work as he performed security duties on Manhattan Project sites and finally the Atom Bomb test site in New Mexico. She returned home before the test to work as a nurse for Doctor John Waldner, a general medicine and surgery doctor, founder of the first Loveland Hospital.  


After the war, Bob returned home and joined the Loveland Police Department. They adopted Bob’s niece Hannah Margaret and raised three sons, Monte, Ricke, and Rande. Leona’s parented her kids and worked part time, and then many years as a medical office nurse until retirement. She was active in various clubs and directed the PTA Mother Singers performing around the country while Bob served 27 years as Assistant Chief and Sheriff of Larimer County for eight years. She and Bob, and her parents founded the Loveland Church of God 7th Day where Bob served as Pastor until his death in January 1979.


After Bob’s death she married Leo Hein, a widowed WWII vet whose wife was her best grade school friend. Leo and Leona traveled, owned a mobile home lot at Crystal Lakes, fished, played golf, and visited grand children across the country. After Leo died of cancer, she married William Schriener, a widowed WWII combat vet. They later separated due to behavioral issues related to war time PTSD.


She lived in Loveland over 98 years in three homes, 57 years in the 4th Street historic district home purchased from Doctor Waldner’s wife. She cared for Rande for 28 years and grand daughter Jessika for 16 years.  On her 100th birthday, family members and friends from across the country, and many local dignitaries joined honoring her long service as a citizen, policeman’s wife, pastor’s wife, and nurse.


In November 2022 she moved into an assisted living facility in Arvada near Monte where her youngest great grandson Leo Paul Jensen visited weekly and lit her up. As senior resident her sharp whit, sense of humor, story telling, and winning smile captured the hearts of residents and every care team member.

She spent her final days in her words “not worrying about the future, but looking back on a long full life”.


Her faith in Father God and Savior Jesus sustained her beyond the passing of many friends and family. She was preceded in death by her three WWI vet husbands, parents, four siblings and their spouses, many lives long friends, son Rick, and daughter Maggie. As the matriarch of the Buckendahl and Watson clans, leaves behind 2 sons, 11 grand children, 17 great grand children, 7 great great grandchildren children, and many nieces and nephews, now greatly missed but never forgotten as we await our reunion in Glory.


Her Celebration of Life and memorial service at 9235 W 81st LN, Arvada, CO 80005, including an online option via Zoom June 24 from 1-4 pm MDT, and a separate family graveside internment service is planned TBA are planned later. Contact Monte at the address above or message him at (303)981-3317 for info on Zoom sign.


In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a tax-deductible donation in her name and honor to further her Gospel Legacy to: Taking New Ground c/o Matt Watson. Taking New Ground works to catalyze movements of multiplying churches around the world.

Online Gifts: website at www.takingnewground.org

Check Mailing Address:

Taking New Ground

P.O. Box 2714

Cumming, GA 30028

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