Leona Elizabeth (Roccuzzo) Douglas,
of Quincy and longtime resident of Houston, Texas, died Thursday, September 5, 2013 at home after a long illness. She was 57 years old.
Born in Quincy on June 14, 1956, she was the daughter of Virginia D. (DiSalvio) Roccuzzo of Quincy and the late Agrippino A. Roccuzzo. Leona was a graduate of Quincy High School, where she was Student Body President, and held a BS in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University and an MA in Psychology from Houston Baptist University.
She was a Registered Licensed Occupational Therapist (OT), Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, and Licensed Professional Counselor; and was Certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and a member of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). Leona had a 35-year career as an OT in hospital and school settings. In 1981 she established an OT program in the school system at the US Army post in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, that is still in existence today. She also worked at the Paul A. Dever State School and with the CHARMSS Collaborative in Holbrook. For many years Leona worked with the Harris County school system and Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She found her work with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and with children with autism especially fulfilling. She had a gift for assessing and creating effective treatment programs for difficult cases.
Leona’s involvement with EAGALA began at Red Dun Ranch in Houston when she was working toward her master's degree. She described it as a “rewarding discovery of the power of horses to facilitate healing” when partnered with individuals facing mental health challenges. She felt honored to be accepted as "part of the herd” and shared her love of these animals with her oldest daughter and grandson. During her own recent illness, she said the horses “offered their peace and steadfastness and showed how powerfully they are connected to the Divine, to each other, and to me.”
Leona was an accomplished West Coast swing dancer, a former member of the Southwest Whip Club and Houston Whip Club and leader of the St. John’s folk group in Quincy, and a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Leona is survived by her mother, Virginia; her daughter Sarah Hogan of Quincy; her son Jonathan Douglas and daughter Jessica Douglas, both of Houston; her grandson, Jaxon Rocky Johnson of Exeter, New Hampshire; her sister Josephine Roccuzzo and brother-in-law Hartwell Hooper of Providence, Rhode Island; and her first husband, Peter Hogan of Buffalo, New York.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, September 11 at 11:00 am at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 17 Church Street, Hanover. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Interment to follow in Mt. Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy. Leona requested that her life be celebrated in vibrant color rather than mourned in black.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Leona’s memory to Red Dun Ranch, 14304 Hooper Road, Houston, TX 77047.
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