Golf 03

Merilee Unsworth

July 10, 1944 ~ February 11, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old


Merilee Unsworth, 78, of Sonoma California passed away peacefully at home in her sleep on Saturday, February 11, 2023.  She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Fred Unsworth and her daughters Sheri Hageman and Tami Unsworth, son-in-law Fred Hageman and two beloved grandchildren, Jay Hageman (24, Kansas City) and Lindsay Hageman (22, Tempe).  Merilee is also survived by her two sisters, Patricia Edwards of Foster City, CA and Joan Wollenberger of Portola Valley, CA   

Born Merilee Ann Leftwich on July 10, 1944, she was the youngest daughter of George Vernon Leftwich and Pearl Lee Leftwich of Larkspur, CA.  She attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, CA, and she went on to graduate with a Bachelors degree and teaching credential from San Jose St University.  Merilee earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from Dominican College in Marin County.

She met her husband Fred in 1965 on Waikiki beach and it was love at first sight.  They met while she was working the summer (and tanning) after college graduation in Honolulu.   They were married February 25, 1967 in Marin County and they never left her beloved Northern California. 

She loved her job as a special education teacher at Sassorini Elementary School in Sonoma, where she worked with special needs children for more than 30 plus years.  Merilee then worked in Kenwood at Ledson Winery as a Greeter and Tour Guide for years and then transferred to the Ledson Hotel in downtown Sonoma where she warmly greeted guests and helped manage the hospitality offerings at the hotel.

Merilee was utterly gorgeous, very lady-like, active and athletic.  She worked out her entire life and was an avid tennis player having played on various Sonoma Valley league teams.  She loved her weekly golf group that played on the Bennett Valley and Oakmont golf courses.  Merilee was a competitive Bocce Ball player and was league Manager for the Sonoma Valley league.

She was a huge 49’ers and Giants fan, loved the Warriors and was a big fan of the Kansas Jayhawks, her grandson and son-in-law’s alma mater.

Merilee loved her knitting circles, her once-a-month Dinner Group, and her long time special group of friends in their WINE GROUP!  She was very generous with her time, volunteering for years at the Sonoma Visitors Bureau.

She and Fred traveled the World in retirement and spent time with her family in their various homes over the years in Lake Tahoe, where she spent all her summers raising her girls and then her grandkids.   She passed on her love of tennis and golf to both of her girls and her grandkids as well.   She was a consistent travel planner and her favorite vacations were with her husband, her daughters and her grandkids to another treasured spot, Marriott Desert Springs Villas II.  

Merilee will be greatly missed by her many friends, family, students and others, including strangers, that she always so graciously interacted with.

There will be a Celebration of life held in her honor on Saturday, April 8th from 1-4pm at the Roche Sonoma Winery: 22097A Bonness Road, Sonoma (Schellville), CA. 











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