When you have someone like Leota Jett in your life, you learn to cherish every moment you get to spend with such an amazing woman.
Leota Elizabeth Jett was born in San Jose, California, to parents Arthur and Leota on March 23, 1954. She was the youngest of four girls with older sisters Leart, Alice and Thelma preceding her. Leota graduated from Willow Glen High School in 1972, and she then went on to attend San Jose City College, where she studied dental assisting before pursuing a career teaching auto mechanics.
San Jose City College is where she met Gene Morgado and began a long-term relationship, and she eventually met his three children – Susan, Mark and Bob – and became a surrogate mother to them. From the day she met them, she has shown them nothing but true motherly love, and she has always been there for them.
That should come as no surprise, however, as Leota has always been known to put others before herself and has always been willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs one.
“My grandma is such a thoughtful person and helps anyone in need,” her granddaughter Ryann said. “She always takes care of everyone and is always willing to lend a helping hand. She has never turned her back on anyone. She is always positive and looking on the bright side. She is a good and loyal friend.”
All of her friends that you talk to can attest to how much joy and laughter Leota brings to their lives, as she is the bright spot in so many people’s lives.
On top of being a great friend, Leota has also been an example of hard work and dedication.
After graduating from San Jose City College in 1975, she transferred to San Jose State University and graduated in 1977 with a B.A. and then an M.A. in Industrial Education. Leota took a job as an auto shop and math teacher at Independence High School in 1977, and taught there for over 3 decades.
Later in life, Leota pursued another degree and graduated from San Jose State University with an M.A. in Counseling. This led to her career change at Independence in counseling, which allowed her to continue to help students in a different capacity.
“My grandma has taught her family to be hard workers and to never give up on their dreams,” Jordan said. “She has taught us that life is never easy, but to keep pushing through. She has taught us to have forgiveness towards others and love one another. She has taught us to never take life too seriously as well and to enjoy the little moments life has to offer. She has taught us to always ‘buckle up for safety!’ and always have a backup plan.”
One of the many life lessons Leota has taught her family is to always have a backup plan. Life loves to throw curveballs, and that is why Leota has always been prepared and why she has always stayed on her toes when it comes to career changes.
After working for the East Side Union High School District from 1977 until 2014, she left to become a Counselor at Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center, where she was the head counselor for a few years. Throughout her career, she has positively affected the lives of many people, where that impact is still demonstrated today.
“Our grandma is an inspirational person for her hard work ethic and ability to make a difference in all her students’ lives, like she has done for us,” Emerald and Joseph said. “She brings positive energy around and lifts people up.”
Leota is always there for others and is always making an impact wherever she goes, and this rings especially true when it comes to her relationships and her family.
She met and married her husband, Steve Kuzma, in 1992 where he introduced her to his daughters, Amy and Jodi Kuzma. They have lived happily married for 30 years, and their relationship has shone bright for all their family to see.
“Our grandparents make a great team because they always support one another and demonstrate different qualities,” Kylie said. “Our grandparents dedicate time to each other and always do things for one another. They cherish family and make it a priority in their marriage. They love to cook and have the family over for large dinners.”
Family has always been important to Leota, but now it is the number one priority in her life, with nothing coming close to her second priority.
After many years of living in Willow Glen, Leota retired from her career. Leota currently has 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild, and resides in Benicia, California, where she loves to garden, go to the beach and spend time with family and her dog Annie.
Leota has lived a life full of love and laughter, and she has been a role model to so many. Everyone who knows her appreciates her and is more than grateful to have her in their lives.
“Grandma, thank you for everything you have done for us and our families. We love you so much and we have learned so much from you. Thank you for being a wife, mother, grandma, sister, teacher and friend to all of us. Thank you for pushing us outside of our comfort zones to teach us things we did not know we could do and to support us in our own life journeys. We love you!” – Your Loving Family