Loraine Leland

Loraine Weiss "Sally " Leland

1927 - 2021

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Obituary of Loraine Weiss Leland

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Loraine Leland was born and raised in Grafton, Wisconsin where locals knew her as Sally. Growing up during the Great Depression and World War II shaped her life. She worked in the war plants during high school, became a seamstress to make ends meet, and was resourceful in making do with what was on hand. Sally cherished horseback riding, her father’s hunting dogs, dramatic reading, and summers at her Aunt’s Chicago home and farm in Crystal Lake, IL. She served four years in the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in Boston, in part to earn the GI bill college benefit. One of her roles was that of cover girl – she could be seen in dozens of press photographs demonstrating a new piece of military equipment or dedicating a new plane or ship. The first in her family to attend college, Loraine graduated University of Wisconsin where she studied child development and met her late husband, Harold R. (Bob) Leland. They settled in the Buffalo, New York area. During their 44-year marriage, Loraine was devoted to family responsibilities and was most proud of raising her children. She taught them the importance of serving others, life-long learning, protecting the environment, and taking a global view. She set a strong example by volunteering in the psychiatric ward at the Veteran’s Administration hospital and as a first aider for the Camp Fire Girls, insisting on NPR and PBS as the dominant sources of broadcast media at home, recycling well before that became popular, and hosting international families through World Hospitality.


Loraine had an artist’s aesthetic, collecting Asian artifacts and honing a talent for flower arranging with Ikebana International over 22 years. She was a skilled bowler and also enjoyed square dancing with her husband in Williamsville and Lancaster groups, traveling internationally with her family, and corresponding with life-long friends.  A two-time breast cancer survivor, Loraine was a long-time participant in the National Institute of Health’s Women’s Health Initiative begun in 1991. She was proud to have contributed to the research finding that hormone therapy after menopause increases risks for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, and dementia. Loraine and family were long-time members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst.


Loraine passed peacefully in her sleep on April 30 at the age of 93. She is survived by her children, Jane (Rich Fisher) of Illinois and Rob (Robyn) and two Granddaughters (Lauren, Halie) of New Mexico, and two adoring Grand dogs.


Contributions in Loraine’s memory may be made to the Women’s Health Initiative or the Breast Cancer Network of WNY, or the Center for Dementia Research.  Condolences may be sent to Jane Leland at JaneLeland@ameritech.net and Rob Leland at Robert.leland@me.com

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