Nonie, as she was affectionately known, joins those who she loved that have gone before her, including her beloved mother, Evangeline Garcia and vovo Willamena Garcia, and her father, Leo Mukjian. She leaves behind her best friend since childhood, Robin Forte, who brought her incredible joy and laughter in her life and was her lifeline through all of her struggles. Escapes to the Vineyard beaches with Robin were her happiest times. She is indebted to the staff and her friends at Marie Esther Health Center for their love and support during the months she spent with them. Her many other good friends, colleagues, students and family members will miss her beyond measure.
Leona had a passion for music, children and animals. The memories of her dedicated years with the Hudson CYO band Champion “Royal Jades” in the color guard, as a trumpeter, and as drum major and the friendships she forged during those years were recounted on many an occasion with much delight.
She devoted her life to a career in teaching elementary school children, retiring after 35 years from Forest Avenue School. She had incredible compassion for the children in her classroom, especially those that were in the most need for understanding and support. Her dedication to ensuring each student knew they were loved and to providing each one with the skills they needed to grow and develop was awe inspiring. Many a young life was shaped by her loving support. Because of Ms. Mukjian, many a child grew to know that there were people in the world who cared.
She had a sense of humor that kept us all laughing constantly. Even as she struggled through 50-plus years of diabetes and the complications that ravaged her body, she managed to keep us entertained. She got great enjoyment out of watching the Patriots play and win! But, there was no talking to her during the game if it was a nail biter!
Leona had a love for animals that was only rivaled by her love for her students. As she departed this life, she had her two beloved dogs, Maggie and Gizzy, waiting for her with flapping ears on the other side of the bridge.
A service will be held Saturday, Nov. 18, from 111 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Tighe Hamilton Regional Funeral Home, 50 Central St., Hudson. A private burial will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to charities near and dear to her heart: Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, or the MSPCA.
Anyone who would like to contribute photographs for display at the service, particularly pictures of her in her element with her loved students, can provide them by email to [email protected].