Serving the community since 1922

Leona Merle Wasson Grant

Oct. 20, 1926 – Feb. 22, 2024

Leona Merle Grant was born in Sallisaw, Okla., on Oct. 20, 1926, the daughter of Maxie and Besse Wasson. The family moved to Wasco in 1932, where she attended Wasco schools and graduated from Wasco High School in 1944. She became a Life Member of the California Scholarship Association.

Merle married Loran S. Grant, whose parents were among the early pioneers of Wasco, on March 10, 1944. They had four children: Jill, Janet, Loran D. and Ray. Her career was wife and mother to her family.

Merle's interest in community service began in 1955, when she reactivated the 4-H Home Economics Club. She served on the Kern County Council of 4-H for seven years. She was a Cub Scout den mother in the 1950s.

She was the "angel" in the local music group, "The Four Saints and an Angel." That group played at various social and civic gatherings for 25 years.

Merle was a faithful member of the First Methodist Church, then the First Baptist Church, which combined with the First Congregational Church to become Grace Community Church. She was active as a Sunday School teacher, an Awana leader, held many offices in the Women's Fellowship, was a teaching leader of Bible Study Fellowship for two years and led Bible studies for young women for 13 years. She was very involved with National Day of Prayer for the City of Wasco.

Merle served with her husband, Loran, in evangelistic crusades in much of the United States and 20 countries, including Russia and Tonga. While on one of the trips, a strong friendship was forged in Sri Lanka with the parents of a young seminary student. Their son, Ajith Fernando, became a frequent guest of the Grants during school holidays. Dr. Fernando's book on Deuteronomy was dedicated to Loran and Merle, along with two other couples.

She was on the Wasco High School Board for eight years and truly enjoyed visiting the classrooms.

Merle was a member of Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge, was a member and held several offices in the Wasco Woman's Club, and was in the Alpha and Omega Parliamentary Law Club.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Maxie and Besse Wasson; sister Marjorie Faschel; husband Loran; and daughter-in-law Jan Grant. She is survived by brother Jim Wasson; daughter Jill Grant (Shellie and Phil Ogino, Kimberly Franks); daughter Janet Stephenson (Michael and Regina Beveridge, Michael and Jodi Stephenson, Leslie and Cory Banta, Denise and Chad Dessert, and Matthew Stephenson); son Loran Grant (Wesley and Charlotte Grant, Michelle and Oscar Sandoval, Beth and Dave Buck), son Ray Grant (Thomas and Natalia Grant, Kathleen Grant, Kishna Grant); 23 great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; plus many nieces and nephews and very special friends.

A special thanks to the staff at Hoffman Hospice Hospital. Merle chose to stay there until her end, because of their loving care.

Donations may be made to Grace Community Church for a memorial fund that will be distributed to Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka and Hoffman Hospice.

Visitation will be held Friday, March 1, from 3 until 7 p.m. at Peters Funeral Home, Wasco.

A graveside funeral service will be held Saturday, March 2, at 10 a.m. at Wasco Memorial Park. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m. at Grace Community Church, 1544 7th St., Wasco.


Reader Comments(0)