Leona (Lea) Mary Melhern Hancock, age 81, of Winston-Salem, NC, passed away peacefully on September 12, 2018, surrounded by her family. She was born in New Orleans, LA, on August 30, 1937, to the late Harold Melvin Melhern and Josephine Cecilia DiMagro Melhern.
She is survived by a son, Vincent Hancock (and wife Dee) of Pilot Mountain, and daughter, Jo Ellen Hancock (and husband Steve) of Woodstock, GA; grandchildren, Aislinn Kindle (and husband Jeff) of Lexington, SC, Nick Hancock, Drew Hancock, and Megan Hancock, of Woodstock, GA; David Wheat, Michael Wheat, Candis Wheat, Laura Wheat, and Daniel Hancock, of Pilot Mountain; great-grandchildren, Phoenix, Jeffrey, Alhana, and Kallib, and her beloved cat, Bumble.
Lea was a native of New Orleans and loved her New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers. She lived almost 30 years in Georgia, before retiring to The Villages, FL. A talented athlete her whole life, she was an avid golfer, bowler, and softball player in recent years, participating in the Florida Senior Games twice.
Prior to retirement, Lea had a dedicated and successful career as an inventory control manager in manufacturing, a field dominated by men at the time. During the 1960’s, she was extensively involved in the Apollo program as an employee of General Electric, where she was recognized for numerous process improvements and met several Apollo and Gemini astronauts. She retired from Siemens in 1996, where she received many accolades and awards.
The family will have private memorial services at a later date.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold Melvin Melhern and Josephine Cecilia DiMagro Melhern, and beloved friend, Mary McLaughlin.
in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the local library or animal rescue charity.
Cox-Needham Funeral Home of Pilot Mountain (http://www.coxneedham.com, www.facecoob.com/coxneedham) is respectfully serving the Hancock family.