- Published: November 26, 2009
Donna Jean Leonard died on May 8, 2009, after a three-year illness, at the age of 67. She was preceded in death by her parents Donald “Jim” and Edith Leonard of Omaha. Donna graduated from Antioch College and thereafter held a number of jobs on campus, serving as director of student housing in the 1970s.
Donna is survived by her cousins Debra Sosa and Debra’s husband Florencio of Bellevue, Neb., and Robert Leonard and Tina Skelton. She is also survived by her dearest friend of over 30 years, Gladys Wessels of Yellow Springs, and an old friend, Dee Krieg of Seattle, the three of them among the original survivors of one of the longest-lasting penny poker groups in town, at which times Donna would wipe out the assembled. Dee remembers Donna as a TV weather junkie, a slot machine aficionada and as a lover of July Fourths, when she would delight in firing up black snakes and blasting rockets into the ether while everyone ducked. She loved her long-lived cats, Dill and Katie, along with poetry and mysteries.
The last few years she was beguiled by the poet Mary Oliver and in April, one month before she died, she wrote, “I picked up The Winged Seed by Lee Young Lee yesterday, after re-reading Carrie Brown’s The Hat Box Baby. Finally I’m able to stay alert enough to truly read. Ça va!”
Contributions in Donna’s memory may be made to the Yellow Springs Community Library Association, or to the cat rescuers of Greene County’s Tenth Life.