Len Willeford

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Local business owner dies

Leonard Willeford

Funeral services will take place Monday, April 14 for Leonard Elmer (Len) Willeford, longtime resident of Elk Grove and co-owner of The Sports Shop. Mr. Willeford died April 8, 2008 at the age of 71.

He was born in June 1936, in Audubon, Iowa to JC and Daisy Willeford and grew up in El Cajon in southern California. He came to Elk Grove in 1958 and worked at the Shell Service station for Dave Raulien as well as driving a school bus for the Elk Grove Unified School District.

Mr. Willeford married Linda Frank in 1960. They divorced, and he married Mona Jacobs in 1967.

Len, as he was known, and Mona decided to go into the grocery business and in 1970 purchased Main Street Market from Buster Peart on Elk Grove Boulevard. After about seven years, they turned it into The Sports Shop, and soon moved the store to the Elk Park Village shopping center. Just last November they purchased their own building on Union Parkway and moved the store.

“Len was so active in so many youth sports organizations in Elk Grove and surrounding communities,” his family said. “That was such a large part of his life.”

Mr. Willeford was a charter member of the Elk Grove Lions Club and continued through the years as a very active member until his recent illness.

He is survived by his wife Mona of Elk Grove; children Debbie Groves and husband Allan, Kelly Hockenberry and husband Kenny, and Lisa Merrill and husband Keith all of Elk Grove, Luana Velasquez and husband Norman, and Len Ray Willeford all of Sacramento, and Mark Willeford and wife Tamara of Rancho Murieta; 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Mr. Willeford was the twin brother of Loretta Parvin of Texas, and brother of Marie Wood of Elk Grove and Claire Ross of Bishop.

Viewing will take place Sunday, April 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Elk Grove Funeral Chapel, 9101 Elk Grove Blvd. Monday’s services begin at 11 a.m. at the Harvest Church, 10387 East Stockton Blvd. A reception at the church will follow. Graveside services are private.

Remembrances may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 160126, Sacramento, CA 95816.