LEONA ADDIE DAOUST MUNK
The information below has been compiled from a variety of sources. If the reader has access to information that can be documented and that will correct or add to this woman’s biographical information, please contact the Nevada Women’s History Project.
At A Glance:
Born: October 8, 1911 in Tonopah, Nevada
Died: February 14, 2003
Maiden Name: Daoust
Race/Nationality/Ethnic Background: Caucasian
Married: Robert Ludwig Munk, November 4, 1932, Lovelock, Nevada
Children: Ronald Robert Munk, Deanne Ellen (Munk) Davidson
Primary City and County of Residence and Work:
Lovelock, Pershing County, Nevada
Major Fields of Work: Ranching partner, Bookkeeper, Owner and operator of Kay-Lee’s Drive-In.
Other Role Identities: Managed the soda fountain at Lovelock Drug Store; Cattlewomen’s organization; Eastern Star; Mother Advisor for Rainbow Girls; Beta Sigma Phi Sorority; Girl Scout leader; Artists’ Club; Founder of Pink Ladies’ Hospital Auxiliary; Assistant Secretary to Nevada State Senate; Member of Columbia River Basin Interstate Compact Commission, State of Nevada; Selective Service Board; Chairman of the Board of Equalization, Pershing County; Marzen House Museum Board; Senior Citizens Volunteer; AARP Representative for Pershing Co. Seniors; Avid bowler; Women’s trapshoot competitor; Gardening.
She was the second youngest of seven children. She often stated that it was not easy being the second girl in a family of boys. The older brothers certainly didn’t appreciate the two younger ones tagging along. Oftentimes, Leona finished the fights in defense of her younger brother and took the punishment for his misdeeds. Perhaps this childhood experience was the building of her independence and her ability to take care of herself.
The family moved several times to follow her father’s work as a machinist in the mining industry. They lived in Stockton , Tuolomne, Walker Mine, California , and Lovelock, Nevada . It was during her growing-up years that she developed a love for the outdoors. The family lived in a tent house during the summer in Tuolomne where she enjoyed hiking and fishing. Some of her fondest memories were at Walker Mine. She often talked about the Scandinavian miners teaching the youngsters to ski on skis made from barrel staves.
Leona was 12 years old when her mother gradually lost her eyesight as the result of an automobile accident. She attributes her yen for reading, a love for music, and her sewing and cooking talents to her mother who never stopped teaching and caring for her family even after the loss of her eyesight. Leona became the eyes for her mother, further developing her compassion, patience, and determination.
Following high school graduation, Leona took a job in San Francisco with General Electric. While she was working in San Francisco , her parents moved to Lovelock and her mother became ill. Leona returned to Lovelock to care for her mother. It was during this time that she met Robert Munk at a Saturday night dance in the Arobio Hall. They were married November 4, 1932 in Lovelock. From this marriage, a son, Ronald Robert Munk, and a daughter, Deanne (Munk) Davidson, were born. Both son and daughter were raised and educated in Lovelock.
Leona had an innate business sense. She managed the soda fountain at the Lovelock Drug Store. She and her husband Bob and his brother, Lester Munk, owned Munk Brothers, a trucking and ranch and cattle operation. Leona kept books for the business, fed hay hands, oftentimes supplying room and board to hay buckers during the summer. Most of the food that she served at the table was raised on the farm from her garden and farm livestock. Incidentally, Leona had a community reputation of being an excellent cook and received praise for her beautiful garden.
Being the good business woman that she was, she later became a partner in the construction and operation of Kay-Lee’s Drive-In. Kay-Lee’s provided employment and guidance for the high school youth.
She was always busy with a sense of having to accomplish something. Leona was a leader and participated in many community activities. One of her many accomplishments was the founding of the Lovelock Soroptomist Club in 1957. Under her leadership, they first met in the homes of the members, and later were donated a building downtown on condition that the Soroptomists sponsor a senior center. Following the construction of the Pershing County Hospital , she saw the need for an auxiliary. This resulted in the founding of Pink Ladies Auxiliary. The charter group was quickly organized and volunteers went to work in the hospital. An annual fund raising event was the Pink Ladies Dinner and Dance, one of the big community events of the year.
Because of her lifelong interest in young people, she was a Girl Scout leader, Mother Advisor for Rainbow Girls, and took an active role in PTA and 4-H. She was interested in all kinds of creative activities, including painting in oils and watercolor, crewel embroidery, and crafts. She was a member of the Pershing County Art Club and exhibited her paintings locally and in surrounding communities. Her art is today’s treasure displayed in the homes of her children and grandchildren.
Social events were marked on her calendar and she organized or helped with many. When the GIs and their families returned home following the war, she helped organize special events to welcome them back. Included among these was a welcome home dinner at the Campfire Hut. She was often asked to decorate for weddings and special occasions, help with food preparation, or even sew a garment.
Following the death of her husband, Leona stayed busy and involved. She served as chairman on the Board of Equalization in Pershing County and was a member of the Marzen House Museum Board. She volunteered many hours for Senior Citizens and served as the AARP representative for Pershing County.
During the Nevada State Legislature session in 1960 she served as the Assistant Secretary in the Senate. Leona attended the National Republican Convention in 1960 as a delegate from the state of Nevada . Later, she threw her hat into the political arena and worked diligently campaigning in northern Nevada for an Assembly seat in the State Legislature. In 1967, Leona was appointed by Governor Laxalt as a member of the State Advisory Committee for the Columbia Basin Interstate Compact Commission. Following her appointment in 1971, Leona served on the Pershing County Selective Service Board under Governor Michael O’Callaghan and Allison Millard, State Director of Selective Service on the national level. She received recognition for her service from President Gerald Ford.
Leona was a special lady, devoted to family, readily accessible to friends, and energetic in her community involvement. When her life took a tragic turn with the death of her beloved husband at an early age, she used her faith, resourcefulness, determination, and authentic verve for life to realize some of her dreams.
Researched and written by Deanne Munk Davidson, her daughter. October 2006
Sources of Information:
- Munk, Leona, Autobiography for college English class.
- Thompson, Judy, Oral history conducted for the Munk family.
- State of Nevada certificate from Paul Laxalt, Governor.
- Certificate from Gerald Ford, U.S. President.