Betty Lou Leonard

WRITTEN BY: Cindy Hamann

03/29/30 – 05/27/99

My mom loved to embroider, crochet, knit, and sew. She loved her soap operas, as well some other regular programs. Mom was a walker…..she walked everywhere! She never had a drivers license and lived in a small town called Chillicothe, MO as an adult.

Born: Missouri Passed Away: Iowa City, Iowa

There are many things I could share about my mother, but I will try to pick only the most special thoughts and memories. My mom was beautiful inside and out. She was like a movie star in pictures taken in her late teens. Wavy thick hair, thin figure, beautiful.

Unfortunately, my mother’s father committed suicide and she always felt a sense of responsibility for his death. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her life was quite tortured due to her mental illness. My father in trying to protect my brothers and I, divorced my mom when I was 9 years old. The courts gave full custody to my father because of her illness and she never got over the loss of her children. My father always made sure that we visited my mom though and for that I am truly thankful.

My memories of visiting my mom in Missouri always make me smile. We would go to the movies, eat a meal at the Hyvee store, and mom would always buy us little treats. When mom lived in Kansas City, she took us to see the King and I with Yul Brenner starring. What a special night!!

My mom was a pretty heavy smoker and I always thought it was because she was so nervous. Smoking eventually caught up with her. She had some heart problems which required having a stent put in and during her stay in the hospital they X rayed her chest and discovered a mass….she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors did surgery and removed part of her lung. They felt they got it all, but mom ended up getting pneumonia and nearly died. I spent almost two months at her bedside hoping and praying she would pull through and get off the respirator. She did, but in that time they also discovered more cancer….in her esophagus….inoperable.

We moved mom to Iowa where my older brother could look in on her and be close at hand. It killed me living in CA… far away. But I did my best to be as involved and close to mom as I could. We called my visits my quarterly trips. The doctors said she only had about six months, but God blessed us with almost two years. Some of her final days were so joy filled with my trips to visit her and bringing her first born great granddaughter to see her too… first granddaughter, Karamia. Mom always had a soft spot in her heart for little ones and I was so thankful that I could bring Kara with me for most of my visits.

Mom spent much of her life living alone and missing her kids. I was determined that she would not die alone. It was Memorial weekend when I received that dreaded call that this was it…….she was in the hospital and this would be her last trip there. I made arrangements to get to her bedside as quickly as possible. God allowed me the time to travel and then spend her last night together in that lonely hospital room…..but she was never left alone…..I stayed by her side. Early the next morning, my aunt Sue (moms older sister) arrived at the hospital and moms breathing had become more labored. I knew the time was near and my heart was already breaking. Mom breathed her last breath with her sister present, my husband Ron and I, and my Uncle Paul. Though I felt like a part of me had died…..I was so thankful to be there with her, holding her hand, and loving her just as she had loved me even when she lost me through the divorce….I always knew I was loved!

Mom was brave, loving, gifted, kind, confused, sick, a fighter, and I am proud to share her middle name “Lou” and my granddaughter also shares it….Jadelyn Lou. Mom never got to meet Jadie, but I know a little bit of my mom lives on in her and each one of us.

Father’s Name: Lang Leonard
Mother’s Name: Vesta Leonard

Arnold Bruce Browning, son
Cindy Lou Hamann, daughter
Roy Rex Browning, son
Mary Sue Allen, older sister
L.J. Leonard, younger brother
Terry Leonard, nephew
Brenda Leonard, niece
Nancy Leonard, niece
Sharon Leonard, niece
Steve Allen, nephew
Scott Allen, nephew
Anjanett Monique Browning
Bruce Scott Browning
Sherry Lynn Browning
Jason Michael Virdin
Christina Michelle Virdin
Theresa Browning
Jennifer Browning