Marjorie M. Leonard

Marjorie “Marj” Leonard, 84, of Gaylord, passed away Monday, January 28, 2019 at Aspen Ridge in Gaylord.  She was born in Detroit on February 19, 1934, the daughter of William and Flora Bramwell.  She was especially close to her dad who nurtured her interest in sports.  Marj’s love for sports inspired her to major in physical education at Michigan State University.  At that time, there were not many female sports offered.  She decided to try fencing and competed her entire four years at MSU.

Marjorie later obtained her Master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University and started her career teaching in the Detroit area and then Cheboygan.  A blind date with Bobby Leonard, set up by mutual friends, led to the couples wedding on May 24, 1958.

As a kid, Marj spent many days at her family’s Gaylord cottage and it was her dream to teach in Gaylord.  In 1972, she secured a job in Gaylord at Gaylord Middle School, where she taught for over 20 years.  During this time her passion was coaching girl’s volleyball and track at both the high school and middle school level.  She remained active attending and volunteering at the school’s athletic events after she retired.  She also kept her grand-daughters busy with non-stop activities and fun.  In 2009 she was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Greater Otsego Sports Hall of Fame.  And the following year she was named “Woman Making History” by the Gaylord Branch of the American Association of University Women.

Marj is survived by her daughter Lee and her grand-daughters, Kaylee and Kenzie.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Bobby and son, Dave.

A funeral service will be held 4:00 P.M., Friday February 1, 2019 at Nelson Funeral Home.

Visitation will be held on Friday February 1, 2019 from 11:00 A.M. to time of service.

Memorial contributions can be made to Guardian Gals (Gaylord).

44 Comments

  1. Eugene & Kelly Branigan January 29, 2019 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    We are deeply saddened to hear of her passing. She was a fantastic woman and a great teacher. Prayers for her family.

  2. Barb and Mike Switalski January 30, 2019 at 8:21 am - Reply

    I have so many wonderful memories working with Marj. She was a wonderful diamond put on our Earth. A rare jewel to all of us!!! God Bless you!!

  3. Rochelle Bresnahan-Aldrich January 30, 2019 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    She was a fantastic volleyball coach and mentor while i was at Gaylord high school. She will be deeply missed. Rest in peace.

    Rochelle Mitchell, Bresnahan-Aldrich

  4. Mandy Morris January 30, 2019 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    My favorite middle school teacher. She made the new kid feel part of the group from day one.
    So sorry for your loss. Your mom was a wonderful lady.

  5. AnnCorbiser January 30, 2019 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Dear Lee and family,
    Very sorry to hear of your Mom passing. I enjoyed knowing her and enjoyed her spunky personality. Sending prayers for comfort..

  6. Dawn D. Collins January 30, 2019 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Lee,

    As a student of your mom’s for many years, and a caregiver who had the privilege of enjoying her in her later years, I can tell you she will be missed, so much, by so many. She was a gem and loved to partake in those Michigan vs Michigan State battles waged in the facility. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. GO STATE!

  7. Jennifer Neff (Clement) January 30, 2019 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    So saddened to hear about Mrs. Leonard. I have many fond memories of her at GMS. She was a true role model and one of a kind. My daughter had the honor of receiving the prestigious Marj Leonard Award last year as an eighth grader at GMS. Praying for your family in this difficult time.

  8. Lisa Ford January 30, 2019 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I remember Marj from her days with the activities at Beaver Creek years ago. Prayers for her family.

  9. Connie Nelson (Richards) January 30, 2019 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Lee, Thank you, so much for sharing your Mom with us at Aspen Ridge. I enjoyed her very much. May the Angels lead her into Paradise. Prayers for you and your family.

  10. Melanie Youngs January 30, 2019 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Condolences to the family! I had her for my gym teacher and loved her! She always had a smile

  11. Andrea Balliet January 30, 2019 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I have nothing but amazing memories of this unique woman. She was so loved, and I know her kind, fair, and loving legacy will live on. She touched so very many lives in such a supportive and positive way ❤️ Lee and girls, I am so sorry for your loss. I loved her and feel blessed to have known her ❤️ Peace and love to your family.

  12. JILL (Warren) Washburn January 30, 2019 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    My thoughts are with the family. She was not only a coach and teacher, she was an amazing person, a friend and role model. She will be deeply missed.

  13. Melissa & David Boswood January 30, 2019 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    It was an honor to have Mrs. Leonard for a teacher. What a wonderful educator and person. Our thoughts and prayers to her family.

  14. Laura Skop January 30, 2019 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Sorry for your loss ❤️

  15. Paula Wilson January 30, 2019 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    She was fiesty and also very kind! Challenged me in PE and was passionate about her job. I remember like it was yesterday, her picking me to be a part of the mile relay in track. An event I wouldn’t have ever chosen on my own. We broke the school record. Mind you I was the slowest leg for sure. If I recollect it was Kelly Krajniak, Carey Clement, Katie Holborn, and me. Good memories. She will be missed.

  16. Angel (Strange) Gapinski January 30, 2019 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Lee, I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. She was more than a gym teacher in my world, she was a great mentor who touched my life in a way that gave me strength and encouragement throughout my lifetime. I was blessed to grow up in a community with valued women such as your mom. Your mom always made me smile. I felt she genuinely cared for each of her students, making it very easy for all of us to love her.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. Nicolette Monusko January 30, 2019 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I am sending love and healing to Mrs. Leonard and her family. She was a kind gym teacher and volleyball coach. She always saw the uniqueness in a good person on and off of the court. Many sweet blessings to all who have been touched by this sweet soul.
    Nickie Monusko, GHS Class of 1988

  18. Lori Gonzalez and Lisa Cancilla January 30, 2019 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    One of our favorite teachers….So sorry for your loss. We will remember her fondly, always.

  19. Christina Ohm January 30, 2019 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Prayers to you Lee, and your girls, and the rest of your family, and friends. Your mom was a great lady!

  20. Wanda Warner January 30, 2019 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    So sorry for your loss, Lee. I had the privilege to work with her as an assistant coach for about 5 years. Then she brought me onboard to help her at middle school track meets and some high school meets. I learned a lot from her. Marj was always kind and helpful.

  21. Donna Boughner January 30, 2019 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    What a great lady. I’m sorry for your loss, Lee. I really liked your mom as a teacher and enjoyed our visits whenever we ran into each other. ❤️🙏🏼🏐

  22. Mary Mason January 30, 2019 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Lee, my deepest sympathies to you and your daughters. Always difficult to lose our mother/grandmother. I wish I could make your mom’s funeral, but I am working in Mio at H&R Block this year.

  23. Phyllis Kelley-Gill January 30, 2019 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks to Marge for her dedication to Gaylord Community Schools and girl’s athletics.

  24. Amy Theriault-Howe January 30, 2019 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    This year I had the pleasure of volunteer co-coaching 5-6 grade volleyball at my daughter’s school. It had brought fond memories back of my GMS/GHS volleyball years with Mrs. Leonard. She was my first coach and I strive to teach my girls volleyball like she did.

  25. Goodenow Family January 30, 2019 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your Mom, Lee. As you well know she was a very special lady. We remember her fondly as a neighbor, teacher, and friend.

  26. Laurie McHargue January 31, 2019 at 7:08 am - Reply

    Marj was more like a big sister to me than an aunt when I was growing up. Her love of sports and the outdoors were similar to my own, and she always nurtured these things in me. She impressed me most with her energy, her quiet strength of character, and the devotion she had to all her family — especially her granddaughters. She will be greatly missed.

  27. Tim Brown January 31, 2019 at 7:32 am - Reply

    I remember Mrs. Leonard fondly, she was always such a nice lady, and truly a gift to Gaylord schools and sports.

    I am sorry for your lost.

  28. Tim January 31, 2019 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Please accept our deepest sympathies over the loss of Marjorie. We pray that God will provide the family with the strength needed to endure this difficult time.

  29. Trina Imes (Smith) January 31, 2019 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Wow…what an awesome tribute to see so many wonderful comments about “Coach Leonard”. I was a newbie to Gaylord High School starting in my Junior year. Coach Leonard took a chance on me and helped me gain confidence that has carried into my adult life. She was so much fun and if I recall, I don’t think the teachers always thought her strategy was the best but for the kids it was. She loved us and we wanted to win for her and ourselves. Very sorry for your great loss, Lee. Praying for you and your family!

  30. Marie Kirt January 31, 2019 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Mrs. Leonard helped bring girl’s basketball to GHS in the 70’s. That’s when we first met. She was a lady with a great sense of humor. I know she will be missed by many. My condolences.

  31. Amy B Irish January 31, 2019 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss Lee. Your mom was such a sweet, kind and great teacher. I have so many fond school memories of her! Rest in peace Mrs. Leonard.

  32. Julie Theriault Timperley January 31, 2019 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I will always remember her smiling face and encouraging words. She was more than just a coach she was an inspiration to us. Rest In Peace Mrs. Leonard you are loved 💕

  33. Richard & Laura Simcek January 31, 2019 at 10:50 am - Reply

    So sorry to hear of her loss, our deepest condolences.

  34. Mary (Rybicki) Towne January 31, 2019 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    So very sorry to hear of Mrs. Leonard’s passing. I remember her fondly as a warm, loving person. Prayers for your family, know she was very loved.

  35. Merrily Sterrett January 31, 2019 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    So sorry to hear of Marge’s passing. She was truly a role model for all young women and a leader in women’s sports. It was a pleasure and an honor to teach with Marge at GMS. Deepest sympathy for the family. She will be missed.

  36. Dick and Ona Dunbar January 31, 2019 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Lee, Kaylee, and Kenzie,
    We are saddened to hear of Marg’s passing. She was a unique lady, full of knowledge and fun. We hope that the love and support of family and friends gets you through this difficult time.
    With Love and Sympathy , Dick and Ona Dunbar

  37. Vicki Burgdorf February 1, 2019 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    A wonderful gym teacher. She had a kind and fair heart. Sad to hear of her passing. Prayers and peace to her family.

  38. mary ann respecki February 2, 2019 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Prayers for the family.. i worked with Marge in the summer time . So sorry.

  39. Tom and Jan Seidel February 3, 2019 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Marj was a tireless educator who did a lot of extras for her students and sports teams. We always admired her passion and energy. Gaylord truly benefitted from her time at Gaylord Middle School. She was a fine co-worker, friend, and neighbor. Tom and Jan Seidel

  40. Ed and Jane Sandri February 5, 2019 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Marj had the enviable well-earned reputation of being a wonderful person and a great educator. She surely had a lasting influence on many, many students during the years she was with the Gaylord Community Schools.

  41. Chuck and Mary Fain February 8, 2019 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Marj was a wonderful friend, teacher and colleague who gave so much to the students, school and community. Our prayers are with you.
    Chuck and Mary Fain

  42. Chuck Fain February 8, 2019 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Marj was a wonderful friend, teacher and colleague who gave so much to the students, school and community. Our prayers are with you.
    Chuck and Mary Fain

  43. Richard & Marsha Carlson February 11, 2019 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Marj was a very enthusiastic teacher. She positively affected many students over an impressive number of teaching years. She will be missed.

  44. Gary & Carol Rhines February 13, 2019 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Marj was a wonderful friend and colleague. We shared a classroom when she taught world history and Spanish. Some fun stories came out of our experiences with the 7th graders that we shared and laughed about for years. Also, I appreciate her example for my daughters as she coached them in basketball. Marj was a very special person and will be greatly missed.

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2019-01-30T14:42:13-04:00