Leona Evon Gilmore

8/28/1927 - 2/11/2024


Leona “Lee“ Gilmore passed away Sunday February 11, 2024 in Sun City West, Arizona where she has resided since the passing of her late husband Tom in 2017.

Born August 28, 1927, in Snohomish Washington, Lee blessed all those she came into contact with in her 96 years. She lived much of her childhood in Sultan and would graduate from Bremerton High School in 1944 and soon after married Bill Clark, a Bremerton fire fighter. Within the next few years they and their young family would move to Quilcene. Lee spent the remainder of her life in Quilcene with a short stay of approximately ten years in Port Hadlock prior to a move to Arizona in 2017 to be close to her daughters.

Owner of the renowned Whistling Oyster Tavern for over 26 years, Lee was a good business woman, bartender, and also thought of by her many customers as the banker, marriage counselor, and bouncer. Her annual tavern picnics were legendary along with the weekend dances. Often referred to as the “Colonel” (known for her fried chicken and jojo potatoes), she is fondly remembered as kind, tough, smart, beautiful, hard-working and having a great sense of humor.

Retiring in her fifties, over the next few decades she found great joy in reminiscing with friends and family about the colorful moments and cast of characters that were part of her tavern years. In retirement she enjoyed bowling (albeit never scoring much above 120), shrimping and crabbing, gardening, and being a part of the Brinnon Happy Hookers women’s group where they shared recipes and sewing crafts (though it is said, they mostly enjoyed each other and their jokes). In her welcoming style, Lee was blessed with friendships throughout her life that spanned multiple generations. Throughout all of these years, it was her family though that brought her the greatest joy.

Lee is preceded in death by her son Doug from muscular dystrophy at age 17, and outlived husbands Bill Clark, Denny Moore and lastly Tom Gilmore of forty years. Today she is survived by daughters Claudia (Clark) Black, and Jana (Clark) Kay, stepson Dan Gilmore, grandchildren Katie Elkin (Brad Elkin) and Sean Laughman (Darcy Blair); “great” grandchildren Blake and Kaleb Elkin and Beau and Leona Laughman.

Friends and family may share memories and sign the online guestbook at the wickenburgfuneralhome.com

No services are planned in the immediate future.