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Leeba Ruth Lessin, 62, passed away at her home in Whittier on January 25, 2021 surrounded by family. Leeba was born on November 20, 1958 in Boyle Heights to her parents Joseph & Carol (Mangler) Lessin. While her family and friends are deeply saddened at her departure from this life, they take comfort in knowing that she is at home in heaven with her Lord, Christ Jesus.
Leeba was raised in Whittier attending West Whittier Elementary and Brethren Elementary & Jr. High School. She graduated from Whittier Christian High School before attending Westmont College in Santa Barbara where she graduated in 1979, majoring in History. Following her time at Westmont, she went on to earn her MBA from Washington State University, before returning to the Santa Barbara area as her early career years began.
Leeba eventually returned to Whittier where she made it her permanent home. Leeba was never married, but devoted her entire life to the service of others. With more than 30 years as a healthcare executive, she transformed health delivery systems and established a proven ability to execute strategic plans from ideation to implementation. Her vision and leadership generated positive results at more than 20 organizations and shaped the model of care delivery for patients throughout the nation. Her career began at the Santa Barbara Medical Society. She went on to become the Executive Director of Monarch Health System then served as the Vice President at PacificCare. Her crowning achievement was as the President of CareMore Medical until she retired in 2016. She regularly gave speeches at industry conferences and even gave interviews through various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Fox Business News. Among her many accomplishments, Leeba received several distinguished accolades, including the Mathias Award for Excellence in Health Care Leadership, awarded by the Partners in Care Foundation.
After leaving the healthcare world, Leeba became a beloved community figure in Whittier - investing her time, talents and resources in the town that she loved. She had a strong commitment to the business enterprise in Whittier, particularly Uptown Whittier, where she was the owner of Four Bricks, Aunties Café and Lift Coffee. She was also a committed supporter of many foundations in Whittier being active with organizations such as, the Whittier Library Foundation; the Whittier Museum (where she donated personal collections of rare postcards to the library which can be viewed online today); and the Uptown Whittier Association. She also was a lover of the arts, supporting artists and musicians. She recently founded the non-profit, Artforms Whittier, which is an art empowerment organization for youth in the community. Leeba was a true philanthropist - giving from the deepest parts of her heart for the betterment of her community and those around her.
Of all the activities and interests that kept Leeba passionate about life, it was definitely her love for The LORD that kindled her never-ending love for life. Leeba served on the Shepherd Team at Plymouth Church in Whittier for many years and has been so influential throughout the ministry of the church. She was a true Christ-follower and always sought to live in the gracious redemption of God's love for her. Her ability to make every person she interacted with feel special, loved and cherished will be her most missed quality. This is what truly made her one-of-a-kind.
Leeba is survived by her siblings, Joy (Mark) Astle, Sarah Lessin, Andy (Monique) Lessin, Hannah (Ivan) Pastrano & Roy (Charlene) Lessin; nieces, Melody Astle, Corinn Lessin, Taylor Pastrano, Lydia Nast, Rachel Lessin, Rebecca Lessin; nephews, Danny Astle, David Lessin, Sam Astle, Japheth Lessin, Darian Pastrano, Cameron Pastrano, Joe Lessin, Mike Lessin; great nieces Jaylynn Lessin, Fern Lessin, Juniper Lessin, Ashley Lessin De La Puente, Megan Lessin De La Puente, Michelle Lessin Bustos, Grace Nast, Andrea Nast, Hope Nast; great nephews Luke Nast, Kevin Lessin De la Puente, Carlos Ayrton Lessin Bustos, Michael Lessin, Luca Lessin, Mateo Lessin, Tyler Lessin; many cousins from the Yontz, Atkinson, Lashinsky, Lash families; and countless friends who she met on her journey here on earth. Leeba is preceded in death by her father, Joseph Lessin; her mother Carol Lessin; as well as her brother, Don Lessin, and his wife, Beverly Lessin. Her beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her family and all who knew her.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held in Leeba's honor on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11am at Whittier Area Community Church on The Patio. The family invites all who knew her to participate in celebrating her life at this farewell. COVID-19 funeral guidelines will be implemented and masks required.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following organizations, in memory of Leeba: Los Angeles Master Chorale, Artforms Whittier, and/or City of Hope.
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Whittier Area Community Church
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