Rachel (Rachele) Elizabeth (Leo) Quijano resident of Norman, OK, formerly of Des Moines, Iowa and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away peacefully at Grace Living Center on March 7, 2018 at the age of 84 years.
Rachel was born in Terravecchia, Italy, to her parents Frank (Francesco Domenico) and Mary (Maria Felicia Santoro) Leo. Her and her family came to the United States though Ellis Island in 1937 when she was a young girl and settled in Des Moines, Iowa. She grew up on the south side of Des Moines, attended Saint Anthony’s Catholic School, graduated from Lincoln High School, and entered Mercy’s program for nurse’s training. She enjoyed time with her neighborhood, school, and family friends.
Marriage followed to her childhood friend Donald Quijano and then the births of their three children. She was a loving mother, wife, sister, aunt and grandmother.
Rachel was employed over the years at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids and the City of Cedar Rapids, City Hall with the Departments of Data Processing and the Safety office. She retired from the Safety office in 1999. Starting a new chapter as a single, she moved to Colorado Springs, CO with her daughter Donna and family and later they all moved to Norman, OK.
She enjoyed cooking, dancing, playing tennis, singing in the choir, various crafts including ceramics, painting, and quilting, and of course the sport of shopping. Rachel was a volunteer at church including: being an usher, cup minister, and helping with the church bazaars in contributions of her art and quilt pieces, and also helping at the bazaar itself. She participated in the Martha and Mary group in helping under-privileged families. Rae loved to travel and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She would often visit Iowa and Texas to visit with family. Rachel enjoyed watching the NCAA basketball tournaments, going to the Iowa Hawkeye football games and became an avid fan of University of Oklahoma Women and Men’s Basketball along with the Oklahoma Thunder.
Rae will be remembered with love for her spirit, listening ear, and kind-heartedness. Her heart was full of love for her family and her friends. Children, Mary (Suzanne) Quijano Clark of Houston, Texas; Donald Frank Quijano Jr. of Houston, Texas; and Donna Rae Quijano-Butner of Norman, Oklahoma. Her grandchildren, Captain Nicholas Butner, US Marine Corp of San Diego, CA; Melissa Disterlic of Norman, OK; Austin Clark and Tyler Clark of Houston, TX. Her great-grandchildren, Andrew, Elizabeth, and Matthew Disterlic. Sisters, Marfisa (Marcy) Gaulke and Rosie Gibson, both of Des Moines; Nieces and Nephews, Frank Gaulke, Sharon (Gaulke) Lilly, Collette (Gibson) Brown, Chuck Gibson, Nanette (Gibson) Cunningham, Laurie (Babcock) Johnson, Lisa (Babcock) Baumberger, Denise (Babcock) Lahvic, Mark Beattie, Ann (Schmitz) DeWitt, Casey Decker, Christian Quijano, Alexis (Quijano) Algier, Alan Quijano, Curtis Quijano, Domenic Leon, Louis Leon, Elena Leon, Greg Leon, Anthony Leon. Many Grand Nieces and Grand Nephews. Rachel was preceded in death by her parents, her brother and oldest of her family, Guido Leo; brother-in-laws Ted Gaulke and Dan Gibson.
Family will be available for visitation on Tuesday, March 13th from 4:00- 7:00 p.m. at Tonini’s Funeral Home, 2135 Southwest Ninth Street in Des Moines, IA. Rosary service will follow. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church, 15 Indianola Avenue, Des Moines. Graveside service will follow at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines. Reception will follow at St. Anthony’s Parish Center. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Association in lieu of flowers would also be appreciated.