Iladeene Grace McAllaster Leierer was born in a sod house on a farm in Western Kansas on January 23, 1930. She was the youngest of six children. Iladeene attended a one-room schoolhouse during her elementary years. Her older sister Elva became a college English professor, inspiring Iladeene to also pursue further education. She enrolled at Central College in Kansas, then Bethany College in Oklahoma and transferred to Seattle Pacific College (SPU) where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics. She also delighted in taking art classes at U.W.
At SPC Iladeene met a handsome, athletic and faith-filled student. It was destined for love when Jim Leierer (who would later be known on South Whidbey as Coach Leierer) threw a pancake at Iladeene in the dining hall! She responded by mailing the pancake back to Jim through campus mail. They were married on April 12, 1952. In 1953 Jim took a position as teacher and coach at Langley High School on Whidbey Island, where they would make their home for the rest of their lives.
Iladeene and Jim’s first child, Stephen, was born in 1953, followed by Lowana, Charnell and Nanette. Iladeene poured her life into her husband, family and church. She cheered loudly at countless school sporting
events that Jim coached and in which her children competed. In her thirties Iladeene developed her own career by completing the college coursework to earn her teaching certificate. She became a substitute teacher and enjoyed becoming an even greater part of the school environment and interacting with students.
When the empty nest was upon her Iladeene began a new baking adventure at Al’s Place, the Langley restaurant which later became Mike’s Place. She enjoyed creating fabulous dinner rolls and desserts, especially pies. Her legendary giant cinnamon rolls are still extolled around Langley. In a bit of role reversal Coach Jim Leierer became known as “Iladeene’s husband.” Both enjoyed her success as a baker! She retired fully in 1999, giving her freedom to enjoy time with Jim and their children and grandchildren. Throughout her life Iladeene valued her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She was a woman of prayer. Her well-worn Bible is full of notes and dates marking the scriptures she used when praying for others. Iladeene’s deep faith and desire to follow God was expressed through her involvement in Bible studies, choir, children’s ministry, and youth camps. Iladeene influenced many younger women who sought her out for guidance. She was a fantastic listener who loved hearing about other people’s lives.
As she grew older Iladeene stayed active in her kids’ lives and her church, maintaining her love for God, family and others. Iladeene was blessed to have an excellent, loving caregiver, Pranee (Tiny) Sepsuk and a caring hospice team. Iladeene is preceded in death by her beloved husband James (“Coach”) Leierer. She is survived by her son Stephen Leierer, daughters Lowana Dunckel (Darrell), Charnell Bolger (Kevin), and Nanette Pierson (David), her grandchildren Aaron Dunckel (Kat), Courtney Dunckel White (Brandon), Lydia Pierson Halma (Zack), Ezekiel, Zakris, Matthias and Malachi Pierson,step-granddaughters Jessica Lamb-Williamson and Lindsey Lamb-Nguti, and great granddaughter Emberly Dunckel.
“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” – Psalm 116:7
A memorial service will be held at Island Church, Langley, Washington, on August 13, 2022, at 2 PM. Memorial gifts can be made to Soup’s On, Island Church, or South Whidbey Young Life.