In Memoriam: Louise Wilson

In Memoriam: Louise Wilson
Louise Wilson

Louise Camille Leonhard Strona Wilson, 63, died of cancer on Oct. 24 in Claremont. The longtime resident of the Pomona Valley worked for Cal Poly Pomona, the Claremont Colleges and the University of La Verne over the years.

There will be a celebration of life for her on Saturday, Nov. 3, at noon at The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch located at The Collins School of Hospitality Management.

Wilson was born in Chicago on Aug. 8, 1944, to Dietrich and Helen (Neuhaus) Leonhard, who immigrated from Germany to Chicago in 1940.

An avid football fan, Wilson graduated from the University of Southern California in 1966 with a degree in theatre. She married Pomona business owner Phil Strona the same year, and they divorced in 1979. From 1966-1967, she was the first store-manager trainee in Southern California for J.C. Penney. In 1967, Wilson worked for Honnold Library at the Claremont Colleges and then as a human resources supervisor.   

In 1973, Wilson began working in the Human Resources department at Cal Poly Pomona. She held various positions including supervisor of employment, university training officer, senior personnel professional and coordinator of the Employee Assistance Program. Wilson retired from Cal Poly Pomona in 1998. She worked for the University of La Verne for the next year and then for several mediations centers.

She was a member of the American Society for Training and Development, and in 1989 served as president of the Inland Empire chapter. She was an early member of the Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, and a volunteer reader and contributor for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

In 1989, Louise married Bob Wilson, who managed 33 in-store bakeries for the Pavilions section of Vons. From 2002 to 2006, the Wilsons operated The Wedding Cake, a custom-design pastry company. They traveled the world extensively together, visiting every continent but Australia.

Wilson is survived by Bob, her husband of 18 years, best friend, caregiver and fellow adventurer; her father- and mother-in-law, Bob Sr. and Betty Wilson; brother- and sister-in-law, Paul and Prosy Strona of Honolulu; nephew and niece Joseph and Polly Strona and their sons Kory, Jeffery, and Cole of Honolulu; niece and nephew Wendy and Jon Caprio and their children Brandon and Miranda of Riverside; niece Laurie Easley of Highland; and numerous loving cousins and friends who supported her during her three-year campaign against lung cancer.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to The Collins School of Hospitality Management to benefit the Leonhard-Wilson Memorial Scholarship. Checks should be made payable to Cal Poly Pomona Foundation and mailed to the attention of Ms. Randi Kirshbaum, The Collins School of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA  91768.  

For more information contact Randi Kirshbaum at (909) 869-4786 or