Linnea Steena (Lea) Lightner, 87, of Henrico, passed away peacefully on March 5, 2023. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 60 years, Robert B. Lightner (Bob); and parents, Anton and Aino Carlson. Survivors include her daughter, Laura Jones (Donald); two grandchildren, Catherine and David (Veronica); brother, Arnold Carlson (Marcia) and their three daughters, Amanda (Zach), Catherine, and Caroline.
Linnea was born on September 8, 1935, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the proud daughter of Scandinavian immigrants. At age 5, her family moved to Vineland, N.J. where, with much hard work, grit, and determination, they built a successful poultry farm. Lea was shaped by this experience and developed a strong work ethic and resilience. She was a 1953 graduate of Vineland High School and went on to attend business college. Upon graduating, she joined DuPont in Wilmington, DE, where she met and married Bob. In 1959, soon after their daughter was born, they moved to Richmond, where Bob worked for Reynolds Metals for 32 years.
Lea enjoyed painting, calligraphy, and photography. She was a voracious reader, a lifelong learner, and affectionately known to the family as a stickler for proper grammar, spelling, and promptness. With insatiable wanderlust, Bob and Lea drove cross-country to Alaska twice, enjoying the journey as much as the destination. Through the years, they visited every state in the U.S., every province in Canada, and nine European countries. Their preferred method of travel, both on their trips and throughout life, was exploring off the beaten path. They were loyal supporters of the VMFA Theater, Barksdale Theater, Richmond Symphony, and Richmond Forum. Lea was a longtime, active member of the Tri Club Women’s Club. While there, she held many leadership positions, made lifelong friends, and enjoyed giving her time to their many philanthropic causes.
The family would like to thank the staff at Commonwealth Senior Living at the West End and the nurses from Suncrest Hospice, Natalie and Donmoniquie, for the care they provided. A special thanks goes to Su Suraci, Lea’s private aide, for the compassionate and thoughtful care she provided to Lea over the last 8 months.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to the “Days of Caring” fund at Suncrest Hospice 7301 Forest Ave, Suite 110, Richmond VA, 23226, or to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.