A celebration of the lives of Frances and Joe Leonard will be held on Thursday, October 2, at 12:00 noon in the chapel of J.B. Tallent Funeral Service, 1937 Sharon Amity Road, Charlotte, NC. The family will receive friends following the service.
Frances Jacqueline Bowman Leonard was born in Hickory, NC, to Bertha and E. Luther Bowman. She enjoyed playing both the piano and organ at church functions and recitals, winning ribbons at the fair and in FFA competitions, learning about business while accompanying her father and about fashion while sewing with her mother and working at Spainhour’s Department Store. She went on to major in music at Meredith College. While there, both she and her future husband accepted a ride home from a mutual friend.
Joe Gaither Leonard was born in Catawba, NC, to Genevieve and Chouves “Chub” Leonard. He grew up playing baseball, fishing, camping, and participating in other scouting activities. Joe dreamed of attending Duke University and completed his last two years of high school at Brevard Junior College in order to achieve his goal. While at Duke he majored in accounting and met the love of his life.
Frances and Joe married and moved to Jacksonville, NC, while Joe served in the US Marine Corps. Upon his honorable discharge, Sgt. Leonard and his wife returned to Durham, NC, where he completed his degree in accounting. He pursued a career in banking and construction and retired as an executive with John Crosland Company. Frances kindled her early interest in business by working with Encyclopedia Britannica and Equitable Life Insurance.
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Long before Dancing With the Stars, Joe and Frances enjoyed ballroom dancing. Joe could also be found on the golf course, working on a project in the garage while listening to a race, or enthusiastically cheering on his beloved Duke Blue Devils. Frances loved cooking, decorating, designing clothes and reading, especially keeping up with the latest business news.
They loved to travel and their favorite destinations included the Blue Ridge Parkway, Myrtle Beach, Pennsylvania Amish Country, and the Hawaiian Islands. When they were at home, they attended St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Frances also supported community outreach projects such as making and delivering gift bags to nursing home residents.
Frances and Joe were devoted to one another, their family, and their friends. Left to cherish their memory are their daughter, Beverly Beale of Fayetteville, NC; Frances’s sisters Margaret Lutz and Ruth Lutz of Hickory, NC; Joe’s brother Bruce Leonard of Raleigh, NC; and many nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Joe passed away on December, 19, 2006. Frances mourned his loss until her passing on March, 15, 2013. In addition to their parents, they were preceded in death by their infant daughter Linda, and their son-in-law Eddie Beale of Fayetteville, NC; Frances’s sister Irene Davis of Hickory, NC; and Joe’s brothers Jim Leonard of Dallas, TX, and Phil Leonard of Catawba, NC.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Novant Health Hospice (formerly Presbyterian Hospital), P.O. Box 33549, Charlotte, NC 28233-3549. J. B Tallent Funeral Service is assisting the family.