Martha Belle Leonard
Born: 9/11/1931, Delta, Colorado
Miss Martha was magic. Sheer magic. She spoke the language of unconditional love and was loved unconditionally by everyone who knew her. She did not see through ordinary eyes but through her own lens of the enchanted into the world of fairies and children and bunnies and chicks, turtles and caterpillars, cocoons and butterflies. When she looked at you she saw possibility and potential, goodness and light. She never forgot a child she taught nor a person she called friend.
Her abiding faith in God was anchored by the deep rituals of the church that brought her comfort and peace. Her heart was as free as the Colorado home she called Camp, where she gathered her family like a hen her flock on the Uncompahgre Plateau, with acres of freedom and solitude, “Where the good stuff happens. Where we can face each other and be quiet.” She had a remarkable way of "knowing" — the needs of a child; the secrets of the soul. She gave herself completely. She believed only the best. She was an amazing force of life.
Martha Belle Dillard Leonard was born Sept. 11, 1931, in Delta, Colorado, the daughter of J.D. Dillard and Maxine Lowe Dillard. She passed away Nov. 4, 2014.
She was reared in Delta, Colorado, Norwood, Colorado, Moab, Utah, and Price, Utah, where she graduated from Carbon High School and Carbon Junior College. She then moved to Grand Junction, Colorado. She was graduated from Western State in Gunnison, Colorado, in 1955 and began her 28-year teaching adventure in a one-room schoolhouse in Thompson Springs, Utah. She continued her career as an educator in the Grand County School District where she touched and transformed the lives of countless kindergarteners, second- and third-graders.
Martha's marriage to Wesley Eugene Leonard on Aug. 21, 1955, was the opening chapter of a love story that lasted the rest of her life. Together they held hands, created a family and nurtured the dreams of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her family was her treasure, and surviving as her legacy of love are her children: Melody Sakrison (Dave), Lori Leonard (Mike Butler), Wendi O'Donnal (John), Jeff Leonard (Mindy); grandchildren: Chelsea (Drew), Kellen (Cecily), Shawn (Amber), Breanna (Landen), Melissa, Adam, Shane (Tomi), Ember (Rob), Nick (Savannah), J.D.; great-grandchildren: Kenyon, Taylor, Milo, Tanner, Landon, Kyson, Jordyn, Peyton, Grace, Jaylee, Addyson, Zoey, Abby, Aveline, Easton, Svea; siblings: Betty Bush, Shirley Miller (Ralph), Keith Dillard (Helen).
The Leonard family would like to thank the community for the cards, letters and food. Martha will be missed. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the St. Francis Scholarship Fund or the Grand County Athletic Fund would be appreciated.
A Celebration of Martha Leonard's Life is being planned at this time, and an announcement will be forthcoming.
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