Leona M. Lennemann

State Department Secretary, Poet

Leona M. Lennemann, 95, a secretary with the State Department's office of the legal adviser from 1943 to 1973, died May 18 at Georgetown University Hospital after a heart attack.

A Washington resident since 1936, she did secretarial work for the Social Security Administration and the National Resources Planning Board before joining the State Department.

In 1944, she was present at the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire that made plans for international economic recovery after World War II. The following year, she attended the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco that resulted in the signing of the United Nations charter. She was named secretary of the year in her office in 1971.

Miss Lennemann was a poet in her spare time and in 1969 was designated poet laureate of the State Department's office of the legal adviser. She was a member of the International Society of Poets, which gave her the International Poet of Merit award in 1994 and 1995. She won a number of other honors for her poetry over more than 40 years, including the Golden Poet award in 1988 and 1989.

She was a member of the National Society of Inventors and had three patents, for food containers, clothing and a typewriter-centering device.

She was a native of Orleans, Neb., and worked for a bank and creamery in her home town early on and for a bank in Omaha later. She graduated from a business school in Omaha and attended George Washington University.

She was a member of St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Washington for more than 60 years. She helped with coffee and doughnuts on Sundays and with other church projects. She was member of the lay Carmelite order, a Catholic service organization.

She was a volunteer at the White House, assisting with correspondence, from 1980 to 1990.

There are no immediate survivors.