| Jul 24, 2008

Feature Article - July 24, 2008

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Feature Article - July 24, 2008 Gwendolyn Leonard’s 95th BirthdayBy Julie DrukerAn almost endless line of well wishers extended from the outside steps of the church, into the side door, along the corridor and up to the chair where Gwendolyn Leonard sat individually greeting each guest that arrived for her 95th birthday celebration on Saturday at the Trinity United Church in Verona.

There were big smiles, much laughter, many hugs and multiple birthday cards changing hands. Inside the church, 5 generations of Leonard’s, including some of Gwendolyn’s grand and great-grand children plus friends from in and around the area came out to enjoy the festivities and pay their respects.

The party goers talked, joked and shared stories while eating cake on pink clothed tables, each set with fresh cut flowers and tied with balloons.Guests came from far and wide; Emi, an old family friend and flower arranger from Tokyo, made the trip especially for this occasion.Gwendolyn Leonard, originally a Campsall, whose family have been in the Hartington area for 7 generations, raised her 4 children alone from 1939-1946 while Keith Leonard, her husband, worked and served during the war.

Later, Gwendolyn worked at KGH as a ward clerk. She has always been involved in the community, as a life long member of the Women’s Institute, a member of the Eastern Stars and a 4H Club leader. She also played the piano in the church and led the church choir. Not one to shy away from adventure she celebrated her 88th birthday in a hot air balloon.

Her sense of humour is well known and friends recall her tickling them with her palm frond on Palm Sunday at church.

Gwendolyn has always had a caring heart.

Anne Frape remembers running away from home as a child on a weekly basis and always ending up at Gwendolyn’s house, singing songs for hours and then ending up back home feeling much better.

The guests continued to arrive in a steady stream, with more hugs, kisses and laughter. The stories of Gwendolyn’s life must be plentiful and filled with humour and love, the obvious rewards of a rich and thoroughly well lived life. Happy 95th Birthday Gwendolyn.

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