August 15, 2005
After 86 years of life enjoyed to the fullest, and generously shared with the many who loved her, June Ann Massingale Lessley passed away peacefully Aug. 2, 2005, at Barton Memorial Hospital with her beloved family at her side.
She was born Jun 10, 1919, in Williamsburg, Ky., and spent most of her younger life in Southern California. Some of her most cherished memories were of idyllic teenage years at the beach and weekends spent dancing in the famous Ballroom at Avalon on Catalina Island. She loved to enter dance competitions and swing to the Big Bands, and danced regularly with Mickey Rooney at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Living in Huntington Beach, Calif., she tirelessly worked 33 years as a drug store clerk and manager to raise her daughters, Bonnie and Cheri, as a single mother. In 1980 she retired to South Lake Tahoe to be near Cheri and former son-in-law, Dr. Randy Watson, to whom she remained ever thankful for bringing her here, to this town she grew to love so much.
From 1982 to 1997, June’s love for children led her to become the regular baby-sitter for countless youngsters whose mothers were Jazzercise participants in her daughter, Cheri’s, classes. She was know and adored by so many mothers and children as simply, “Grandma June.” June had a very close and special relationship with Chip Williams, who for eight years spent many after school and evening hours with her while his parents developed their restaurant business. Chip was greatly influenced by June’s gracious and gentle ways and mirrored them as he grew into adulthood. Truly, for Chip, she was “Grandma June.”
Her closest friend over the last 25 years of her life was Tere Tibbetts, who, along with her husband, Malcolm, and Andy and Cristie, lovingly included June in so many of their family gatherings.
She is survived by her daughters, Bonnie Kelsay of Vermont and Cheri Lessley Watson and her friend, Dennis Huntley, of South Lake Tahoe; grandchildren, Darren Davis and his wife, Jennifer, Delynn Davis and her companion, Dean Garman; great-grandchildren, Andrew, Mike, TJ and Cody; sister, Betty Pfeifer and her daughters, Carol and Shirley; sister, Stella and Willis Godwin and family; and brother, Robert Massingale and family. She was preceded in death by her grandson, Darrell Davis.
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The family is most appreciative of all the support and love provided by all their friends and loved ones, and especially to the many staff members and doctors who cared for June over the last years. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that any donations made in her name be presented to the Barton Hospital Foundation or the South Lake Tahoe Cancer League.
There will not be a memorial service, but rather a Celebration of Life, to take place on June’s birthday, June 10, 2006, at Cheri Watson’s residence in South Lake Tahoe.