Kathleen Ellen Leonard, 70, of Greeley, CO died September 1, 2012 at Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, CO. She was born on August 25, 1942 in St. Peter, MN to Edward and Ellen (Mines) Leonard.
Kathy was a dedicated renaissance woman, captivating and unabashed and loyal to her friends and family. After graduating from Belle Plaine High School she attended St. Catherine's College in St. Paul, MN. She then joined the Religious Order of St. Joseph of Carondelet where she became known as Sister Peter Marie. Kathy earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's degree in Microbiology. She taught Biology at Holy Angel's Academy in Minnesota.
After leaving the Religious Order she moved to Faribault, MN where she taught at the Faribault School for the Deaf. Kathy thrived teaching the students and became proficient in sign language. She also pursued ways to enjoy her active life style and became the first female basketball referee in the State of Minnesota. After several years she moved to Roswell, New Mexico to teach at the Roswell Military Academy. She was proud to be the first female instructor at the academy. As her academic interests blossomed, she moved to Colorado to pursue a doctorate degree. She worked at Joslin's Department store as she continued her education.
The beauty of Colorado and the opportunity to ride her bike and hike the beautiful trails in the area were factors in her choosing to settle in the Rockies and build a consulting business in the dairy science area. She became an expert in mastitis testing, analysis, and treatment. She was passionate about her work and the diary people; from the owners to the milkers. They became her dear friends and part of her Colorado family. She had a special bond with the milkers whom she worked with and respected.
The great loves of her life were her dogs. Yetti was her beloved companion for many years. Danny won her heart as a pup. Bourque and Teemu were her dogs at the time of her passing. She affectionately referred to them as "The Boys." They brought her incredible joy and she was rarely seen without them. Trips to the dog park became a daily adventure where Kathy met many dog owners who became dear friends and also part of her Colorado family.
In her spare time she biked 35-50 miles a day, walked many miles daily, and became a talented quilter. She created great quilt treasures that she gladly gifted to her family and friends. She supported local charity auctions and children in crisis with donations of her quilts. Kathy was a loyal, supportive sports fan to many local high school teams. She was also a basketball referee with the City of Greeley's Recreation Department. On her 70th birthday she biked 78 miles! She was an inspiration to so many. Kathy will be sorely missed. Her family and friends take solace in knowing she lost her life doing what she loved....riding her bike.
She is survived by her two dogs, Bourque and Teemu; sisters, Susan Jansma and husband Dwayne of Lakefield, MN, Patty Younghams and husband Tom of Brainerd, MN, and Linda Spellacy and husband Patrick of Goodyear, AZ; a brother, Bob Leonard and wife Peg Kaju-Leonard of Wayzata, MN; four nieces; six nephews; and her great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and beloved dogs, Yetti and Danny.
Kathy’s family invites you to join them for a celebration of her life. The gathering will begin at 1:00 p.m. Friday, September 14, 2012 at the Island Grove Event Center, 412 15th Avenue in Greeley. The life celebration program will begin at 2:00 p.m. with the hope that many of you will choose to share a favorite memory of Kathy. If you prefer to write out your memory, it can be read during the celebration or read privately by the family. A light lunch will also be available from 1-5 p.m.
Kathy’s wishes strongly prefer that any memorial contributions be made in lieu of flowers to a charity of the donor’s choice in care of Adamson Funeral & Cremation Services, 2000 47th Avenue Greeley, CO 80634.