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Barbara Leonard

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LEONARD, Barbara - Obit Photo.jpg


(née GOWER)

It is with great sadness our family announces the sudden passing of our wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Barbara Leonard, known lovingly to all as Gram, on August 17, 2023. She was predeceased by her mother, Florence Gower (nee Sleno) on June 29, 1981, her father, William Henry Gower, on August 7, 1992, her only son Denis Robert Leonard on October 10, 2015 and her middle daughter, Jacqueline Renee Gerelus on August 17, 2021.


Barbara is survived by her husband of 65 years, Tony, daughters Sue Leonard and Monique (Bernie) Rempel, son in law Mark Gerelus, daughter in law Laurel, five beloved grandchildren Casey (Kyle) Smithson, Amy Leonard, Brayden (Noelle) Rempel, Erin Rempel, and Noah Rempel as well as five dearly loved great grandchildren Zach & Norah Smithson, Lucas Hepburn and Elias & Sophie Rempel. She will be missed by "adopted" daughters Karen Veldkamp (Joe) Perry and Marlene (Bob) Gallagher and their families. She also leaves behind many cherished cousins, lifelong friends and coworkers as well as her cherished cat Hank.


Barbara embarked on her life's journey on May 7, 1940, in South Porcupine, Ontario. The family's path led them to Winnipeg in 1943, where young Barbara discovered the joys of friendship and the thrill of figure skating at the Winnipeg Winter Club. An only child, she found solace in the company of friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, and the warmth of her grandparents' love.


In 1955 her father introduced her to Tony at a bowling windup. No one but Barbara knew that the 6-foot 2 man in a blue suit and a yellow knitted tie would soon become her husband.  In September 1957, they were wed and began their married journey.


Barbara's life took on new meaning as she transitioned to motherhood with the arrival of her children – Denis in 1958, followed by Sue in 1961, Jackie in 1962, and Monique in 1964. The bustling household moved four times before finding a home in Transcona, where Barbara and Tony's shared commitment to community found expression in their involvement with the East End Community Club, Kinsmen & Kinettes as well as other charitable organizations.  Barbara was great at organizing the schedules for a household of 6 active people. 


Her career journey was a testament to her skills and dedication. Barbara initially took on the role of a comptometer operator at Eaton's, later finding her place at the Attorney General’s Office in the Records department. Her impeccable handwriting and engaging personality made her an invaluable asset, and her work was enriched by the camaraderie she shared with her colleagues.


In 1978, the family embarked on a new adventure, settling in Brandon, Manitoba, where Barbara's versatility shone as she coordinated the Canada Winter Games and later tried her hand as a front desk clerk at the Redwood Inn. The move brought new chapters for two of her children, as Denis and Jackie found love in Brandon.


Barbara and Tony returned to Winnipeg in 1982, planting roots in Southdale. Barbara became an integral part of the Government of Manitoba, managing the Finance Department's file room. Throughout 41 years, their home became a hub of love and togetherness, hosting countless family and friend gatherings, embodying the open-heartedness that defined Barbara's essence.


As the family continued to grow through marriages and unions, Barbara's heart expanded with pride. Her joy was boundless whenever a new grandchild arrived, and her status as "Gram" was a badge of honor she wore with unparalleled pride. Traveling became a source of joy, as she explored destinations from Las Vegas to the Netherlands and a cruise to Alaska, creating memories that would forever dance in her heart.


Barbara's creativity found expression in her hobbies – from knitting to scrapbooking and genealogy. She loved experimenting with new recipes where she would use her family and friends as guinea pigs. Her life was seldom without the presence of a beloved pet, a reflection of her deep love for animals.


Her Thursday appointments with her hairdresser, Carol, were legendary within the family, a recurring source of amusement as her hairstyle transformed from visit to visit. And who could forget her shopping excursions? Whether for herself or her cherished grandchildren, Barbara's Hudson Bay bags became a daily accessory which allowed Tony to identify her when he picked her up from work; we are fairly certain the Downtown location closed because Barbara retired.  


Above all, Barbara's home was full of love. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the stars that lit up her sky. Her capacity to love was as boundless as her laughter, as evident in her unshakable belief that family was paramount. Friends were family too, and her embrace extended to all with open arms, laughter, and her oft-told claim of being the funniest one around. She had a craving for conversation, and her phone calls could stretch for hours.


 As we remember Barbara, let us honor the legacy she leaves behind; a life lived with love, laughter, and an unwavering commitment to those she held dear. Her spirit lives on in the stories shared, the laughter echoed, and the warmth of her love that forever remains etched in our hearts. May her memory continue to bring smiles to our faces, just as her presence did in life. 


Rest in peace, dear Barbara, knowing that your legacy of love will continue to shine brightly through generations.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, CancerCare Manitoba or to your favourite charity in Barbara's name.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2pm on Friday, September 1, 2023 at 603 Wellington Crescent (Unitarian Church).


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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