Rosa Lee deLeuze passed away at home surrounded by her loving family on April 30, 2018. She was born in Oklahoma and was the only child of Jack and Pearl McCracken. Shortly after her birth the small family moved to Oakland, California where she grew up.
Rosa Lee met her husband Norman at church one fortuitous day before attending the University of California at Berkeley together. She went on to work as a “Copy Boy” for the Oakland Tribune where both her wit and her copy skills were honed. Marriage and the birth of her three children shortly afterward meant Rosa Lee was busy raising a family. This was during a time that coincided with the formation of ZD Wines. She also became a partner in a small antique collective in Santa Rosa. Channeling her inner Julia Child, Rosa Lee taught food and wine appreciation for a short period in the early 1970s. Her focus was always on the family and the winery.
Rosa Lee was charismatic with an easy presence and a quick laugh, always ready to interject an alternative and fun view. From bridge to rummy, she loved playing card games with family and friends. Entertaining was a key part of the lives of Rosa Lee and Norman, creating memories that will last with many of us for a lifetime.
Rosa Lee was at the forefront of ZD’s marketing efforts for many years. During the winery’s early days, she enjoyed visiting restaurants and retailers across the country, working to highlight ZD Wines in the emerging fine wine market. She was fulfilled with the ongoing passion of her family and long-term staff members who are committed to the success of the family business. Since her husband Norman’s passing in 2007, she was proud of her family’s commitment to continuing the legacy she and her husband began almost 50 years ago.
Rosa Lee is survived by her sons Robert (Sheryl) deLeuze and Brett (Natalie) deLeuze of Napa, daughter Julie deLeuze Hammett (William) of Petaluma; grandchildren Brandon (Jennifer) deLeuze, Jill (Scott) Billeci, Connor, Kayla, and Alexandria deLeuze and two great-granddaughters Ella and Cora Billeci all of Napa.
The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers of Your Home Nursing, specifically Michele Baker, Lisa Covan, Andrea Hollobaugh and Mirtha Nima Rubio who helped care for Rosa Lee these past several years. Marta Pedraza was a cherished friend that made her last years more enjoyable.
In lieu of flowers, the deLeuze family asks that donations be sent to the deLeuze Family Charitable Foundation of which Rosa Lee was a board member. The foundation supports the deLeuze Family UC Davis Professorship for a non-toxic cancer cure, the Teen Center at Boys & Girls Club of Napa Valley and the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s. Donations can be made at the deLeuze Foundation website or mailed to ZD Wines, 8383 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558.
The family will have a private celebration of Rosa Lee’s life this summer.
Rosa Lee deLeuze, founder of ZD Wines