Leona Helen Cates
Leona Helen Cates
  • February 3, 1920 - October 26, 2017
  • Fresno, California

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Leona "Lee" Helen Cates was born on February 3, 1920 in Sycamore, IL and passed away peacefully on October 26, 2017. She was the oldest of three children born to William Hecht Jr. and Wilhelmine Becker Hecht. She was raised in Chicago where she met and married C. H. Cates in 1940, who was currently serving in the United States Army during WWII and spanning a career of 30 years. Lee loved to travel; setting up homes throughout the US and Europe, spending many years abroad. Upon his retirement to Fresno, CA from the army, Lee worked at the VA Hospital until her retirement in 1982. Upon retirement she took up photography with the same joy and enthusiasm she exhibited in all new activities and continued to enjoy traveling throughout the US and Europe, capturing and recording her beautiful memories. She joined the Fresno Camera Club and the Photographic Society of America (PSA) in 1984 beginning a love affair with art and nature as seen through the lens of her camera. The society honored her with her APSA (Associate) in 2002, in 2009 Lee was elected fellow (FPSA). Her images were accepted in international exhibitions in color slides and nature. Always interested in promoting membership in PSA, she served as secretary of PSA Gold Rush Chapter 2001-2003 for members including Northern and Central California and Western Nevada, becoming a Regent II Director in 2005, receiving PSA's service medal award in 2007 and again in 2016. Lee received the Large Club of the Year Award in 2012, having served as Membership Chair, Council and PSA Rep., Club President and Newsletter Editor. The Fresno Fair recognized her this year with the service plaque. Lee organized six other FCC members to help photograph police events including ceremonies honoring officers, Kids Day at Pelco (for the physically challenged), K-9 trials, and "ride alongs" with officers on patrol. Nine of her photographs were published in their annual report for 2007-2008. PSA celebrated their 20 year anniversary of PSA Youth Showcase this year. Lee shared her love of photography with teachers and students by encouraging photography in young people today. She served as the Fresno Camera Club's youth showcase sponsor from 2004 until 2016. Honored this year as the Lee Cates Youth Showcase Award. She was a devout life member of the Lutheran church and currently a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Clovis. Lee is survived by her daughter Joyce Gaskins and husband James of Fresno; her grandchildren Natalie Angelillo of Seattle, WA and Michael Gaskins of Southern California; and great grandchildren, Nicholas and Sophia Angelillo and Jaden and Ava Gaskins. A Funeral Service will be held at Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Funeral Home on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Remembrances may be made to Valley Children's Hospital or Fresno Camera Club, The Youth Showcase c/o Rosemary Agguialdo, 2229 N. Arthur, Fresno, CA 93705