Anita Catherine Martin Leonard
Anita Catherine Martin Leonard went to be with the Lord on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. She was born to Herbert “Hub” and Wilma (Cook) Martin Sept. 10, 1926, in Dublin, Texas. Anita had two siblings, Burl Jean and Kenneth Monte. Both siblings were “blue babies,” as it was called back then, and passed away very young. She lived in Texas until she graduated from high school at age 16. Then in 1943, her family moved to Doyleville, Colo. and bought a ranch. This is where her family met Ed and Nellie Leonard. Anita met Cass Leonard in January, 1946, when his family gathered to honor his return from World War II. Anita and Casseloped to Raton, N.M. four months later, May 6, 1946. They were married 47 years at the time of his death in 1993. They had three children, Ron, Kerry, and Sheri. Anita has six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. After Anita and Cass married they lived in Doyleville, Colo. and Colbran, Colo. before moving to Almont, Colo. She and Cass managed the Elsinore Cattle Company on Taylor River for 40 years. Anita loved living on the ranch with her family and was a dedicated rancher's wife, helping Cass with all aspects of the ranching business. Anita was active in many community affairs, clubs, and organizations over the years. Anita was a lifetime member of Cattlewomen’s, also known as Cowbelles. For several years she wrote a weekly article in the Gunnison newspaper called “Cowbelle Corner.” She was an avid promoter of the “Beef Industry,” being promotion chairman for four years and President of the Local Cowbelles. Anita was head of a project “100 years in Ranching” during the BiCentennial year. It included a wax diorama of branding and haying scenes, a written story, and a display on the history of brands. This remains in the Gunnison Museum. Anita was one of seven ranch women who felt the necessity of a “hot lunch program’’ for children in the local schools. In the beginning, they had limited facilities, so they cooked in the Catholic Church basement, on a woodstove and with three electric roasters. Anita was always willing to help in many ways to her friends, family and others in the community. Whether it be an illness or death in the family, she would make food and deliver it. She also served on Community Fund Drives, such as Cancer, Polio, and Mountain Search and Rescue. She was a member of Vashti Rebekah’s and held the office of Noble Grand in 1980, 1993, and 1994. She also held offices of Secretary, Warden, Conductor, and Vice-Grand. In 1982, Anita was very proud to receive the Declaration of Chivalry, which is the highest honor given to a Rebekah. She was a secretary for Cattlemen's Day Racing for 10 years. She always enjoyed the rodeo and being a part of it with her family and friends. She was also a lifetime member of the Pioneer Society. From 1956, she was a lifetime member of Ohio Creek Home Demonstration Club and was also a member of the Ranch Home Club. She had served as President, Vice-President, and Secretary of Ohio Creek Extension. She held office in County Council as President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer with each office having a 2 year term. She won the award of “Un-Sung Woman” in 1976. She received Master Farm Homemaker in 1977 and received a District award from the Chamber of Commerce. Anita worked with the FFA club when Ron and Kerry were in the group, but her main interest was 4-H. Beginning in 1956, she became an active 4-H mother and then a 4-H leader from 1971 to 1980 for the “All Thumbs & Little Crumbs“ Club. She was President of all the county 4-H leaders. Anita was involved in many fundraising activities for 4-H as well. She sponsored two major trips of 20-25 kids to Pendleton, Ore. as well as Maryland and Washington D.C. She thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the kids and being with them on their trips. Sewing and crafts were her main hobbies, especially crafting alongside her longtime friend, Dorothy Barrett. Among Anita's numerous talents, she was a gifted seamstress. She loved designing and creating her own patterns from scratch for her family. She designed and made a beaded wedding dress, beautiful western suits, western shirts, and countless outfits for her grandchildren. After retirement Anita and Cass filled their time creating beautiful crafts. Cass enjoyed cutting out the wood designs while Anita loved bringing them to life with paint. She was a member of the Methodist Church of Abilene since 1940, as well as a member of the Community Church in Gunnison since 1960. Anita asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior when she was in high school. She loved working at the Gunnison Museum and being a volunteer. She enjoyed going around with visitors showing them what the unique items were, and pointing out items from the Leonard family. She put together an entire wall of all the ranchers in the Gunnison area, including one wall with their old cowboy hats and pictures. She loved doing this and hearing more history from the ranchers. She worked on genealogy for many years, mostly on the Leonard family. She was proud to say that she had done research on 16 generations and included Leonard ancestors traveling on the Mayflower. She and Cass were avid dancers, whether it be western dancing or square dancing in the Hi-Country Squares for many, many years. Anita was postmaster relief and part time clerk at the Almont Post Office beginning in 1968. She became Almont Postmaster in 1978, a position she held for 21 years. She thoroughly enjoyed this job where she could meet and visit with so many people. Anita was preceded in death by Cass, the love of her life, her parents and siblings. Survivors include: son: Ron (Connie) Leonard of Gunnison, Colo., daughters: Kerry Miller of Pflugerville, Texas, and Sheri (Kevin) Hutton of Coaldale, Colo. Grandchildren: Kyla Leonard of Gunnison, Colo.; Ryan Leonard of Mt. Tremper, N.Y.; Clint (Teresa) Miller of Pflugerville, Texas; Corrie (Jeff ) Beers of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; Jenny (Brandon) Dunn of Coaldale, Colo. ; Josh (Kendra) Gillespie of Howard, Colo. Great-grandchildren: Kevin (Krissy) Miller of Cloudcroft, N.M.; David Miller of Weatherford, Okla.; Jordan Liston and Melissa Beers of Fountain Hills, Ariz.; Colten Dunn, Justin Dunn, Kinsley Dunn of Coaldale, Colo., and Garrett Gillespie and Jaxon Gillespie of Howard, Colo. Great-great grandchildren Tyler Miller and Cliff ton Miller of Cloudcroft, N.M. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. at the Community Church in Gunnison.