Cover photo for Barbara L. Leonard's Obituary
Barbara L. Leonard Profile Photo

Barbara L. Leonard

December 9, 1944 — May 4, 2020

Barbara L. Leonard

Barbara Louise (Sorenson) Leonard left the physical world unexpectedly on Monday, May 4, 2020. Barb loved her family more than anything and, in return, she was loved by many people. She was a beautiful person who loved to laugh, was very kind, incredibly intelligent, had a sharp wit and used very colorful language in her storytelling. The outpouring of condolences since her departure are a tribute to the amazing person she was. Affectionately known as “Mom,” “Mrs. Leonard,” “Nana,” “Nana Barb,” “Aunt Barb” and “Nanadietcoke,” she will be missed by many.
Barbara was born in Rhinelander, Wisconsin at St. Mary’s Hospital on December 9, 1944. As an “Air Force brat,” Barbara moved often throughout her early life before landing in Ohio as a teenager. She attended Beavercreek High School where she was popular, a cheerleader, made life-long friends and married her high school sweetheart, Louis (Bud) Leonard (divorced). The young couple settled in Kettering, OH and began their family.
If you talked to Barb at any length you were bound to hear a story or two about her three boys. In the early days, as her boys grew, the Leonard house was a gathering place for neighbor kids – who referred to Barb as “Mom” or “Mrs. Leonard” – and still do to this day. While she raised her three boys and attended Sinclair Community College for a degree in nursing, amongst other jobs, Barbara was the “Branch Lady” for the Dayton Daily News. This role cemented her as a pillar of the neighborhood who was known by everyone.
She worked third shift her entire career to free up her days to go to activities for her boys, and later, her grandkids. From summer swim meets to football games to plays, if her boys were competing or performing or receiving an award, she was in the audience. Barb was thrilled when her oldest son decided to attend Sinclair and become a nurse just as she had done. She hated when Rob moved to Maine and Utah for graduate school – but was proud of his achievements. And she was so proud of Mark’s determination and graduation from Urbana. She loved being a part of her boys’ lives and wanted to be present for every birthday and celebration large and small. She once said of Rob’s half marathon running, “I’m not going to let you run a half marathon and not be there when you finish!”
Barb, or Nana Barb, loved her grandkids and loved being able to be part of so many milestones in their lives. She was there when they were all born and was there for many doctors appointments and hospital visits. She insisted on babysitting all 5 grandkids as much as possible to keep them out of “baby jail.” Nana Barb loved taking the grandkids on adventures to parks, zoos and other attractions. She never said, “No” in the gift shop and spoiled her grandkids at every opportunity. And as they grew, she loved taking them shopping and out to eat and to movies. She was a very proud mother and grandmother who loved every moment of watching her sons and her grandchildren live their lives.
Shortly after graduating college in 1975, she began her 32 year career at the Dayton Veteran’s Administration Hospital as a Registered Nurse. Barbara was an extremely caring nurse who had a genuine concern for her patients’ care. She received several awards for her service and for her innovations. She was on the forefront of patient care during the AIDS epidemic and never wavered in her care of her patients. Several of her former colleagues have noted, “She was the best nurse I ever worked with.” One of her colleagues said, “You were lucky if you were on a shift with Barb.”
For 30 years Barbara worked the midnight shift. After many years of the third shift being “overlooked” by the VA for the annual Christmas party, Barbara took it upon herself to create the “Beautiful Night People” Christmas party. She would spend several days cooking and shopping and then, on her night off, she would set up, serve and clean up a Christmas Party for the 100+ third shift workers. She continued this tradition for over 15 years up until her retirement. But the work didn’t stop there, for the past several years Barb has been an active member of the VA Employees Retirement luncheon committee. Again, each year, she spent many days helping to organize, set up and clean up after the luncheon. She was not only a passionate care-giver for the patients at the VA, but also a passionate and caring co-worker.
For her efforts at work and in the community, Barbara Leonard received the 2005 Alumni Association Service Award from Sinclair Community College.
Barb never slowed down in retirement. She was becoming quite a painter and enjoyed her Paint and Wine (Pop) classes with family. She liked going to sporting events, the theatre and Indigo Girls concerts. She was always up for a trip to a casino. She loved to travel and was looking forward to another trip to Wisconsin to visit her beloved Aunt Jean and her cousins. She was terribly disappointed that the trip to California to see her Brother Scott, Sister-in-Law Lenna and Niece Maiken for Maiken’s college graduation was canceled. It was even more disappointing because she was also looking forward to seeing her Brother Larry, Sister-in-Law Carol, Nephew Erik, Niece-in-Law Tenya, Great-Nephew Rucker and Niece Elyse for Rucker’s baptism.
As much as she gave to her family, she gave to her community. Barb always left very generous tips for anyone in a service industry position. She volunteered formally and informally with so many organizations. She loved to tell stories about the last-minute shoppers she saw while volunteering to wrap presents on Christmas Eve for the Domestic Violence Shelter. She served Thanksgiving Dinner to the homeless, walked for the March of Dimes and for Breast Cancer Awareness and she donated money to just about any charity who asked. And she would never walk past the bell ringers during the holidays without putting something in the bucket.
Per her wishes, Barb will be cremated, and her ashes spread at a private ceremony with immediate family. She is survived by her three sons and their families: her Son Chris Leonard (Miamisburg) and Daughter-in-Law Beth, Granddaughter Emily and Grandsons, Jack and Greg; her Son Rob Leonard (Kettering) and the Snooty Sisters; and Son Mark Leonard (Centerville) and (former) Daughter-in-Law Shelley (Sloan), Grandson Daniel and Granddaughter Kendall. She will be welcomed into heaven by her parents Dorothy (Dobbe) and Lt. Col. Richard Sorenson.
Barb rarely said, “goodbye” at the end of phone call. Instead, she liked to say, “love you, hug you, miss you, kiss you!”
In lieu of flowers, if you are so inclined, please remember Barb with a donation to the Dayton Veteran’s Administration Center at https://www.dayton.va.gov/giving/index.asp
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara L. Leonard, please visit our flower store.

Guestbook

Photo Gallery

Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree