Ernestine Leif, was born Sept. 28, 1938, in Montgomery, Alabama, and grew up in Phenix City, Alabama.
After graduation, Ernestine worked for the police department and won the title of MISS PHENIX CITY in 1958. Ernestine then met and married her husband, Stanley James Leif, and they were married 63 years. After living in Alabama, she moved to Waco to live on the family farm. This was quite an adjustment for Ernestine, but she embraced farm life, and learned the value of hard work. She developed a love for gardening, canning, baking, chickens, hogs, cattle, and being there to cook. She took lunches to anyone that was working in the fields.
In 1959, Ernestine and Jim started their family of five children – Donna, Barry, Mitchell, Teresa and Lisa. Ernestine not only raised her children, but helped with the farm and took on jobs in the community to help support the family. She worked at the Utica Nursing Home, was a driver for children with disabilities, spent time as a waitress/bartender and volunteered at local functions. Her children and grandchildren loved all the family gatherings.
Ernestine loved to dance and taught her children how to dance at a young age. Ernestine and her husband were beautiful ballroom dancers. Ernestine’s favorite dance was the Jitterbug. Ernestine was always present at the children’s athletics and school events. She was the biggest fan and supporter.
In 1985, Ernestine embarked on a new chapter in her life. She became a realtor with Home Real Estate for 29 years. Ernestine’s love of people, unwavering dedication and her heart of gold helped her to become a highly successful Realtor. She lit up the room everywhere she went, and she found immense joy in helping people.
Ernestine embarked on another chapter in her life, moving to Texas in 2021. She loved her Independence, having her own apartment at Legacy Oaks Independent Living, and never having to cook or clean, she felt like a princess. She was always so elegant, and every resident loved her.
Ernestine had nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Ernestine is preceded in death by her husband, Stanley James “Jim” Leif; her beloved mother, Eunice Bertha Mills; and her father, Charles Hamilton Cox. Also preceding her are her sisters, Annie Marie Davis Cooper, Ella Sue Cook; and brothers, Rufus Josephus Davis and Charles Hamilton Cox Jr. She is survived by her daughters, Donna and her husband Donn, Lisa and her husband Marty, and Teresa, and sons, Barry and special friend Linda, Mitchell and his wife Dee; and a multitude of nieces and nephews, all of whom cherished her deeply.
Ernestine Cox Leif will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her, but her legacy of love, kindness, and unwavering devotion will endure. Her memory will forever inspire us to be better, kinder souls. Many will remember her bright smile and her ever-present positive attitude. Ernestine was just as beautiful on the inside as the outside. Her beautiful smile will never be forgotten.
To honor Ernestine’s memory, a Celebration of Life will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Hall in Utica. A graveside service will be at 10:30 a.m. the same day at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Cemetery in Utica, where mom’s ashes will be united with her husband, Stanley James Leif.
May she rest in eternal peace, surrounded by the love she so freely gave to others. Arrangements by Volzke Funeral Home.