521 East Main Street | Niles, MI | 49120
Obituary of Maureen Louise Leonard
Maureen (aka Maurnie) Leonard, 89, died peacefully with her family. Her last weeks of life were filled with visits from a great many wonderful people, some of whom traveled distances to see her one more time. Her face lit up as each visitor arrived….she enjoyed each one so much.
Maureen lived in Niles all her life. At Niles High School she and her fellow “Blue Jeaners” walked all over town to various fun activities. She enjoyed the camaraderie and fondly thought of them often over the years. In the late 1940s, in the church choir, she met Bob Leonard, a transplanted farmer from North Dakota, and fell in love. They married in June 1951 and built their lives around family, church, and community. They raised 9 children and added 9 more as their children married. They later joyfully welcomed 22 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren into the family.
Primarily a stay-at-home mother, she did return to secretarial work when her children grew. She so enjoyed organizing an office and worked in the Senior Law Center and then National Standard before retiring in the 1980s.
Her passion, however, was singing. Her beautiful soprano voice was a mainstay of St. Mary’s church choir for a great many years. She was often asked to sing at weddings and funerals----her rendition of Ave Maria brought tears of joy to the eye. With the St. Mary’s Choir, as the Holy Notes, she was thrilled to make a trip to Rome to sing for the Pope in 1993.
Maureen is survived by her children: Beth (Don) Inks; Ann (Curt) Butts; Sheila (Doug) Morton; Becky (Dick) Scameheorn; Shane (Laura) Leonard; CJ (Colleen) Leonard; Sue (Brian) Burks; and Tricia (Dan) Mentock; daughter-in-law, Cheryl Leonard; her 22 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Sharon Richards; sister-in-law Patty Leonard; several cousins; and scores of nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, Maurice & Eulalia, siblings Patty, Kitty, & Eddie O’Toole; Lala Zilly, and Sheila Walters; her dear son Terry; and her loving husband of nearly 63 years, Bob.
Maureen’s children were honored to be able to care for Mom in her home these last several years. She so wanted to stay in the home she built with Dad. This would have been impossible, however, without the help of Mom’s kind and caring friend, Gloria Vandygriff. The family is eternally grateful for Gloria’s help and support.
The family will greet friends and family at Brown Funeral Home, 521 E. Main Street, Niles between 4 pm and 7 pm on Thursday, November 7, 2019, where a rosary will be said at 6:30 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 am on Friday, November 8, 2019, at the St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish, 203 S. Lincoln, Niles. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery. Brown Funeral Home is entrusted with final arrangements.
Interested donors may want to make memorial contributions to St. Mary’s Church, Niles; Jack & Dorothy Thatcher Scholarship Fund through Spectrum Health Foundation—Lakeland; or Caring Circle of Lakeland.
It is impossible to give justice to the impact of Maureen’s life in this brief missive. She had an uncanny ability to make each individual feel special. Her friends included not only her contemporaries but the friends of her children and grandchildren, whom she always welcomed with open arms. She was well-loved because she loved so very well. We are blessed beyond measure to have had her in our lives and thank God for sharing her.
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Mass of Christian Burial
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521 E Main St
Niles, MI 49120
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