Leonard Roy ShymoniakSeptember 22, 1941 ~ November 13, 2017 (age 76)
Leonard Roy Shymoniak passed peacefully on November 13, 2017 at the age of 76. He was the beloved father of L. Thomas Szymoniak, Yvette Leonne Karman and Yvonne Marie Lowry and “Papa” to his ten grandchildren. Leonard was born on his family farm on September 22, 1941 in Spruce Valley, Alberta, Canada to Josef and Katherine Shymoniak, both immigrants from Poland. He was the fourth of five sons (Theodore (Ted), John, Edward, Leonard and Brownie). Participation in the family farm, local church and community was expected from a very early age. This hard work ethic stayed with Leonard his entire life.
One of Leonard’s favorite stories to share with his children was about his first job off the farm at the age of 9 when he was the ‘superintendent’ of his school. He would walk alone in the early morning to school (over 3 miles away and yes, often in the snow and in the dark!) to open up his single room schoolhouse by lighting the wood stove to warm up the classroom and sweep up the floor before school started. And despite the challenges of this small, single teacher school environment, Leonard graduated from high school and later attended University of Alberta where he achieved a dual degree - a BA in Education and a Bachelor of Science.
In 1968, Leonard married Leonne Jeanette Willis, an Australian, at St. Joachim Church in Edmonton. While married, he obtained a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Alberta.
Leonard then spent a year as Principal of a high school in Peace River. Following this position, he was accepted into UCLA for a PhD in Educational Administration. After UCLA, Leonard moved his young family up to the Sacramento area in 1972. He started work for the State of California where his career spanned many years; predominately as a Senior Financial Analyst in the Chancellors office of the Community College System until his retirement in 1999.
Although very accomplished in his professional education career, Leonard was more known for his lifetime farming activities after he bought a small semi-rural farm in Citrus Heights in 1972. After trying out some different small farm & ranch ideas such as selling milk, eggs and renting pastureland, the farm eventually became well known across the Sacramento area as “The Pumpkin Farm”. It evolved into one of the oldest pumpkin farms in California with a school field trip program.
It was also there where Leonard could spend time with his beloved children and grandchildren, loyal friends and his favorite dog, Kimba (an Australian cattle dog). Leonard was also actively involved in the Polish-American Club of Sacramento where he served on its board for many years.
When not working on the farm, Leonard enjoyed family trips to Donner Lake for fishing and downhill skiing in the nearby mountains (his favorite activities from his youth in Canada).
A memorial service will be held, Monday, December 11, 2017 at 1 pm at HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC CHURCH (7817 Old Auburn Rd, Citrus Heights) with a reception to follow at the Parish Hall.