r Every community has people in it that make it great. I’m talking about salt-of-the-earth kinda people. Join us as each month as we highlight one of our longtime members in the community.
Leola Buffo was born in 1925 in Spanish Fork. She was born in her family’s home on 600 North. Her father, Thomas Bona, and her mother, Veola, raised seven children in that tiny humble home. The Bonas lived there for many years until it was eventually torn down and a new home built in its place. The family owned the whole block and would later develop it so every child would have a building lot.
Thomas had a large farm in Benjamin where he raised beef cattle, grew alfalfa and had a large plot of sugar beets. “One time when I was very young, it was time to thin out the beet rows. My dad told me to thin out one row. I looked down the row; it looked like a mile long. I told my dad I didn’t want to thin out the beets. He walked me over to a large tree and sat me down in the shade, and told me to stay put until the chores were done. My father was so kind and gentle — I loved him very much,” Leola said. She would take on the nickname “Spud” after that day, maybe because she refused to thin out the beets and it was her father’s way of keeping his temper.
Leola attended Spanish Fork High School. She loved business classes and excelled in the difficult subjects. “I really enjoyed the business subjects. The boys usually took the business classes, but I knew I wanted to learn those subjects, so I took as many as I could and gained a good understanding of business,” Leola said. Soon Geneva Steel took notice of Leola and as a senior in high school she applied to work in its finance department as a clerk.
She worked for Geneva Steel for two years and then the bomb fell on Hiroshima. Geneva laid of hundreds of workers after that and production of steel products slowed across the country. A little while after the bomb fell, a boy she had met years earlier came home from the war. Frank Buffo served in the Army and toured in Europe. He and Leola had met years before at a wedding where they danced for the first time. After a short courtship, Frank and Leola were married in Leola’s mother’s house in 1947. They eventually built a home on one of the family lots and had one child, LeAnn Buffo.
Leola began working at the public welfare department in Provo. “I used to ride the Red Refer train from Spanish Fork to Provo and walk two blocks to work,” Leola said. Later, she took the Civil Service test and did very well, and soon the Bureau of Reclamation recruited her to work in its Spanish Fork office. After several years, they opened a new building in Provo and Leola transferred to it. Later, she worked for the Social Security office in Provo. All told, Leola spent 30 years working in government service. During this time, Frank earned a degree at Brigham Young University and taught at Orem High School. After six years, he went to work for Geneva Steel where he was employed until he retired. Frank and Leola owned a gift store on Main Street in Spanish Fork – it was a Hallmark store.
When Frank turned 60 years old, he retired, and Leola retired a few years later. “We went on a three-week tour through Europe. It was completely guided. We went to Spain, England, Morocco and some other cities I can’t even remember. We finished in Hawaii. Frank and I loved spending time together, and we loved a good time,” Leola said. Frank and Leola were married for 67 years. Frank passed away in 2015. Leola has two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She lives in Beehive Homes of Spanish Fork. “They take care of everything here, the food is good and always ready, my room is clean and bed made up. The staff is very kind. What more could I want?” Leola said. Thank you, Leola Buffo, for raising such a great kid and being a member of our community. You may visit or contact her at Beehive Homes, 858 E. 100 South, Spanish Fork, UT 84660.