Leta M. Garland, a native of Warren, Ohio, and resident of Baton Rouge, died Jan. 6 of heart failure and complications from diabetes. She was 64. A graduate of Warren Western Reserve High School, she was a homemaker for many years, working at various times in retail sales in Baton Rouge and later in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, in its library system and for its public schools as a crossing guard and cafeteria monitor. She was the daughter of Warren Fike and the former Isa Smitley, both of Markleysburg, Pennsylvania. Born Aug. 6, 1955, she was the youngest girl in a close-knit, hardworking family of six girls and three boys. Family was always at the center of her life. Leta had a warm, loving, generous nature that drew people to her, many of whom would become her lifelong friends. She touched deeply the lives of neighbors, friends, the people she worked with and the children of all of them – everyone who was blessed to know her. She especially enjoyed spending time with her friends at mah jongg and pokeno games, and looked forward to annual trips back to Ohio to visit her sisters and other family members and friends. They would regularly have epic, hours-long domino games that were mostly an excuse to laugh and visit and share stories. The love she shared with her husband, Greg Garland, was a rare and special thing. From the first slow dance at the roller rink where they met as teens in 1968, swaying to the Dells singing "Stay in My Corner" to a 48 year marriage that would provide her with two wonderful sons and two loving grandchildren, it was a love like few others. In addition to her husband, Leta is survived by her son, Stephen Garland of Baton Rouge; son and daughter-in-law Jeremy Garland and Tamra Dozier Garland of Las Vegas; grandsons Dylan and Preston Garland of Baton Rouge; sisters Patty Suraci of Waterloo, Ontario; Ruth Horner of Niles, Ohio; Betty Jaros and Sheryl Braun, both of Leavittsburg, Ohio; brothers Don Fike of Eatonton, Georgia and Jack Fike of Ormond Beach, Florida; and numerous other nieces and nephews and other family members. She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Paula Jones; and younger brother, John Fike. Visiting hours will take place at Resthaven Funeral Home, 11817 Jefferson Highway, on Monday, Jan. 13, from 11 a.m. until services at 1 p.m. The family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to her doctors -- Dr. Casey Carlisle, Dr. Jeanmarie Hinkle and Dr. Ayme Schmeeckle -- for their compassionate care for her in recent years. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook or leave a personal note to the family at www.resthavenbatonrouge.com.
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