COZUMEL, Mexico – Livia Lee Leigh was born the youngest of five children on February 11, 1943 in Portland, to Lillian May Ustic and James Paul Ustic. She attended schools in Redbank, Gray and Portland. Her family moved to Waterville at the end of her second year, and she graduated from Waterville High School in 1961. Livia enjoyed singing and dancing. She made her debut as a singer during her senior year “class night”. She sang “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos. Some of her fondest memories are dancing with her brother, Tyrone, when they were teenagers. She moved to Portland after graduation and worked as an administrative assistant at Pierce, Atwood and Scribner, Sanders Associates and First American Title. 30 years. In 1974, they gave birth to their only child, Christina “Chris”. Livia was a fun and passionate stay-at-home mom. Everyone, including Chris’s friends and classmates, recognized his instant warmth. She always made time for the people most important to her and gave them the rare gift of undivided attention and love. – and of course, sing. Livia was also appreciated for her cooking skills, which she acquired at a very young age from her mother and grandmother. Pies have become his specialty. Throughout her 60s, she worked at the Cape Elizabeth Home in South Portland as a cook and caregiver. The residents loved her and she went beyond their personal knowledge. During this time, she began singing at area nursing homes. Before long, she had regular weekly and monthly singing gigs at many local homes. Her self-proclaimed lifelong “love of the elderly” as well as her captivating stage presence made her a hit. Livia’s zest for life continued over the following years. She was frequently found ballroom dancing, line dancing, or dancing and singing at various nightspots around the city. Chris frequently accompanied his mother and the two became excellent companions. They became roommates at the end of 2019, after Livia was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 18 months after joining an experimental program, Livia’s condition had greatly improved and the two were ready to pursue a new hobby together: travelling. They traveled all over the country and in mid-May 2021 they landed in Playa Del Carmen for what was to be a month-long stay. Livia died unexpectedly in Cozumel, Mexico on June 8, 2021, of a surgical accident during a routine procedure. Livia is predeceased by her mother, Lillian and her father, James, her stepfather, Allen F. Judkins; grandmother, Inez C. Sawyer; brother, Tyrone T. Ustic; nephew, Edward Ustic; his sister, Marlene D. MacConnell, and his brother, Paul M. Ustic. She will be missed by her precious parents, including her sister, Sonya Ustic of Portland; nephew, Robert MacConnell of Puyallup, Washington, niece, Diana Panetti of Limington, nephew, Paul MacConnell of Standish, nephew, Sean Ustic of Lakeland, Fla., nephew, Timothy Ustic of Chandler, Arizona.; and several nephews and great-nieces.
A celebration of life will be held on June 4 in Portland. Please send correspondence to: Chris at [email protected]. ** Please enjoy this short film commemorating Livia’s incredible turnaround: https://youtu.be/EvN9kY7VtE4
Obituary: Mary Linda Kelly Gleysteen