Leona Montague Bywater died at home on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at the age of 94. She was born in New Orleans on February 19, 1927 to her parents, the late Leonce Joseph Montague and Mary Narcisse Montague. Leona was also preceded in death by her beloved husband, Sidney Alexander Bywater, to whom she was married for 61 years and their beloved daughter, Stephanie Sophia Bywater; three brothers, Joseph Louis "Man" Cohn, Eugene Gustav "Billy" Cohn and Russell Wilson Cohn. Mrs. Bywater taught for over forty years at Epiphany Elementary School in Gentilly. In the decades after she retired, she often ran into former students who were always overjoyed to see her and would tell her what a positive influence and role model she had been in their lives. She remembered every one of them and would often ask about their parents and siblings by name. Mrs. Bywater leaves behind the following dear and beloved friends, Matthew Butler, Patricia and Henry Ferrand of Washington, DC; Sister Maura O'Donovan, CHF; sister-in-law, Maxine Cohn of Harrisburg, PA and Katie Nachod, who was honored to take daily care of "Mrs. B." for the last several years. Mrs. Bywater greatly appreciated the loving support of these people and of other relatives, friends and neighbors too numerous to list. In addition, she is survived by her Godchildren, Juan and Harding Butler of West Fork, AR; childhood friend, Marian Albritton of Detroit, MI, along with many nieces and nephews. Also left to grieve is her furry feline friend, Dinkle, who was a constant and loving companion, even more so after Mr. Bywater's death in 2011. Mrs. Bywater was a true animal lover and she faithfully fed a small colony of feral kitties who still come to her house every day for dinner. Mrs. Bywater was the epitome of grace and dignity, even when confronted with adversity and loss. She faced life and death with a strong faith and spirit and an amazing resiliency. She made a lasting impression on everyone! nobody ever forgot her, even if they met her only once. Her family and friends are especially grateful for the excellent care provided for many years to Mrs. Bywater (and also to the late Mr. Bywater) by her wonderful doctor, David A. Myers and his very supportive staff. Mrs. Bywater often said that she wouldn't have made it to the age she was without them. She received outstanding care during her final illness from all the caregivers at Notre Dame Home Hospice, especially hospice nurse Neaobbie Thomas and from Dependable in Home Care, especially home health aide Renell Freeman. Relatives, friends, former and current priests, all members and parishioners of Corpus-Christi Epiphany Catholic Church, former staff and students at Epiphany School and members of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and the Congregation of the Holy Faith are invited to attend the funeral. A Mass of Christian burial honoring the life of Mrs. Leona Montague Bywater will be held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 2022 St. Bernard Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116 on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 10 AM, Father Henry Davis, SSJ, Celebrant. Interment St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery, 1401 Louisa Street, New Orleans, LA 70117. Visitation 8 AM in the church.
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