Aug. 11, 1958 — Oct. 6, 2018
BURT — LeAnn Irene Torney, of Burt, was born on Aug. 11, 1958. She is the oldest of two daughters of Earl Raymond Torney and Veradene Louise (Groen) Torney. She was born and raised in Osage, and graduated from Osage High School. The family was members of the First Baptist Church in Osage, where she accepted Christ and was baptized while in high school. Growing up, LeAnn could be found helping her dad and grandfather on the family farm. During her high school years, she enjoyed playing oboe in the band and working as a popcorn girl at the local movie theater.
After graduating from Osage High School in 1976, she enrolled in Sioux Falls College. While there, she was involved in the drama program and worked as a biology teaching assistant. In 1980, she graduated with a degree in biology education. Her first teaching job was at the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in Stephan, S.D. She then moved to Springview, Neb., where she taught high school science. While in Nebraska, she attended Kearney State College and earned a master’s degree in science education.
LeAnn later moved to Titonka, Iowa where she taught middle school science, which became her favorite age range. While living in Titonka, she served as mayor for two terms, winning her first term as a write-in candidate. One of LeAnn’s hobbies was spinning wool on the spinning wheel she built for herself. One day she went to purchase wool and met Darell Spear. After meeting again at Indian Days in Titonka, they started dating and he became her lifelong love and companion. They enjoyed living on a farm outside Burt, where they raised ducks, chickens, donkeys, ponies, bees, dogs and cats. She assisted Darell with his business, Iowa Supreme Meats. They were often seen at farmer’s markets grilling brats and socializing with their customers. They distributed meat to stores in the Midwest. Once a year, LeAnn and Darell grilled and sold brats for a week at the WIT rally in Forest City. They enjoyed going to fairs and farm shows. Her favorite was attending the sheep and wool festivals in Iowa and Minnesota.
LeAnn continued her teaching career at North Iowa Community Schools in Buffalo Center, where she was loved by students and faculty alike. She taught both high school and middle school science. She recently celebrated her retirement from teaching at the school with friends and colleagues. A science scholarship was established in her name at that time. She was given the honor of being grand marshal of the North Iowa homecoming parade for 2018.
LeAnn had a full and meaningful life. LeAnn passed away peacefully on Oct. 6, 2018, following a brief struggle with liver cancer. Her last days with loved ones were spent at Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona, Iowa.
Memorial services will be 10 a.m., on Saturday at the North Iowa Community School in Buffalo Center, with Rev. Walter Reemtsma celebrating. Burial will be held in the Ramsey Cemetery in Titonka. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m., Friday at the North Iowa Community School in Buffalo Center.
LeAnn is survived by Darell Spear of Burt; her sister Lisa Louise Torney of Coralville; aunts Irene Groen of Minneapolis, Minn. and Gladys (Torney) Johnson of Alcester, S.D.; uncles Arnold Torney of Deer Trail, Colo., and Donald Torney of Williamsburg; and numerous relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Veradene Torney (1976) and Earl Torney (2017).
The Lentz Funeral Home in Burt is serving the family. Condolences may be left at www.lentzfuneralhome.com.