Patricia Leonard
Patricia Leonard

Obituary of Patricia Shannon Leonard

Warrensburg: Patricia Louise Shannon Leonard has left this earthly plane after a short illness. Although we thought she was magical enough to live forever, her strong and loving heart ceased to beat at the age of 96. Her spirit persevered until the very last moment and continues on in some grand new adventure, blessing us all along its way. Born March 14, 1924 in Los Angeles, CA to Michael Francis Shannon and Agnes Brown Shannon, she was blessed to have the freedom to explore a creative life. Treasured by her father who nurtured her independent spirit, she was taught the horsemanship skills to be a confident rider. By age 5, she spent her summer days roaming the San Jacincto Mountains alone on her horse, with the one request to be back by dinnertime. Throughout her teens, she mastered trick riding and barrel rac-ing. Pat won the cowgirl's title of IdyllWild Sweetheart in 1940. Her mother encouraged her passions of literature, art, theatre and music. After attending Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Pat achieved a BA in English at Immaculate Heart College in 1945. She was a teacher for several years in Los Angeles. She met the love of her life William Patrick Leonard Jr. from Fort Edward, NY, while he was in LA with the Navy. After years of cor-respondence, they married, moved to Poughkeepsie, NY and started their family. In the early 50s, they moved to Glens Falls with their two little boys, Bill and Mike. The young family was fea-tured in a cozy fireside scene on the cover of Collier's Magazine Dec. 1954 vol 8, N0.6. At Hillcrest, they found a neighborhood full of friends with enough boys for two baseball teams. Bill es-tablished the Wm. P. Leonard Agency, Pat was a substitute teacher and then along came Mary. In the early 60s, they bought their first cabin cruiser and found several lifelong friends in RedRock Bay. When Mary was 5 and Pat 40, they learned to ski together. After many tumbles down the rope tow at West Mt., they could keep up with the boys. When the Northway came in, Pat and Bill serendipitously found a home at the base of French Mt on Lake George that fulfilled all their dreams. Grateful for each season and amazed by every temperament of the lake, they loved their wooden boats and celebrated each day swim-ming, golfing and skiing. Pat and Bill traveled to Spain, Mexico and her beloved Ireland. They expanded their perspective by taking a parapsychology class in the late 1970s that gave her the tool of self-hypnosis and opened windows for poetry to start flowing through. When they moved to Seabrook Island, South Carolina, the ocean sang to her and she started sending her poems to the local pa-per. The editor encouraged her to continue by printing over 40 poems. In 1983 she had a poem published in Carolina Voices, an Anthology of North and South Carolina poets. Her first book of poetry, Sea Shells and Laughing Gulls, was published in 1984. During that 60th year of her life, she also took jumping lessons at Seabrook Stables and enjoyed long beach rides. The egrets and uprooted trees called to her to capture their essence, as did many families to have her take their family portraits. She was on the Loggerhead Turtle Patrol and shared magical moonlit nights with her loved ones on the Barrier Islands. She reveled in the mysteries of eggs being laid and the scurrying of new hatchlings. Following her bliss, Pat achieved a graduate certificate in profes-sional photography through The New York Institute of Photog-raphy. She began giving slideshow and poetry readings through-out the Charleston area. She was a member of The National League of Pen Women and The Poetry Society of South Caroli-na. Pat was profoundly affected when she shared the stage at the Dock Street Theatre with Coleman Banks, reading Rumi, dur-ing The Spoleto Art Festival, in Charleston. She traveled to Costa Rico on a photojournalist tour through Na-ture Photographer Magazine. Her poems and photographs were published in it several times during the mid 1990s. Once Hurri-cane Hugo hit their area in 1989, and several small ones fol-lowed, they lost their passion for the coast. Pat and Bill moved to North Carolina in 1998. She took several trips out west to ski and be with family. After Bill died in 2008, Pat returned to the Adirondacks. She dis-covered a supportive world of creative writers, golfers, snowsho-ers and friends of all ages that filled her world with delight and adventure. She was grateful to be embraced and welcomed into the hearts of so many people. As Wm. Blake decreed, Pat saw "the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower" and generously encouraged others in their creative expression. Pat was thrilled to be part of several writing groups, and she thrived in the classes with The Academy of Lifelong Learning at Empire State College, in Saratoga. She was honored to be a contributing member of the editorial board for The Apple Tree, their annual publication. Several teachers at A.L.L. helped her spirit soar and became her cornerstones, especially Pat Nugent and Janice Cutbush. Pat edited a book of poems in 2014 by The Ode Folks, students who had written and critiqued each others' work for many courses from A.L.L.. That same year, at the age of 90, Pat established Shanaire Press. In 2016, she published Dan Riley's book My Life, My Words. In 2019, Pat published and edited her dear friend, Joyce Zimmerman's book of art, poetry and prose A Poet's Eye. Pat was proud of her personal journey from Idyllwild, California to Warrensburg, NY. and memorialized her life in poems and prose. She traced her family heritage back to the Fenians, yearned to find deeper roots in Irish soil and to hold her great grandchildren. She wrote and published Transfigurations in 2010. Through her own Shanaire Press, Pat wrote and published Love Poems To Bill in 2014 and Adirondack Haiku in 2018. She was absolutely amazed at the support that the Post Star, The Chronicle and many local businesses have given her with each publication, culminating with the July 12, 2019 article by Kathleen Phalen-Tomassili, who Pat adored! In addition to being a well-respected poet, editor, publisher and photographer, Pat enjoyed snowshoeing, golfing and hiking right up to her 95th year. Her photographs of nature in all seasons represent her resilient spirit. Pat and Mary felt very blessed to be able to spend so much time together during her last decade. They traveled to Ireland on a Celtic Spirituality tour in 2010. Pat's soul was nurtured by many loving people of Warrensburg, espe-cially those of St. Cecelia's Church, The Opera Club, Cronin's Golf Course, Warrensburg Beautification, Warrensburg Historical Society, wonderful neighbors and friends, her cat Leo and Lilly Louise Stargazer. She filled the hearts of all who loved her, an inspiration, role model, mentor, loving mother and a true joyful friend. Pat was predeceased by her parents, Michael Francis and Agnes Brown Shannon, her brother Michael Francis Shannon Jr, her sister, Eileen Shannon De La Vega and her one true love William Patrick Leonard, Jr. Left to Cherish her memory are: her son, William P. Leonard lll (Laura), her son, Michael Shannon Patrick Leonard(Cris), her daughter, Mary Agnes Patricia Leonard, her grandchildren; Lisa Weinberg(Joe O'Brien), Shannon Patrick Leonard, Casey Burke Leonard(Yuna), Ryan O'Leary Leonard, Amiee Michele Leonard, Robert Mackenzie Leonard, i.e.Max, her great grandchildren; Wotatwa and Wondimu Weinberg-O'Brien, Bear, Haiku, Bell and Jay Leonard, Connor Finnegan Leonard, her nephew; Enrique Miguel Antonio de la Vega(Darlene), her grand nieces and neph-ews; Leonor Guy(James), Rocky, Michael, Lisa, Christopher and Nicholas de la Vega, her great nieces; Suki and Lou de la Vega, and many dear friends. We send our gratitude out to Dr. Diane MacDonnell, Dr. Atilla Kayalar, Dr. Joseph Mihindu, Dr. Stephen Verral, Dr. Juan Garcia, Dr. Fabio Urresta and all of the doctors, nurses and staff that worked so hard to keep her going so well for so long! Two options for donations in Pat's honor are to St. Cecila's Church in Warrensburg, NY 12885 or to the Pat Shan-non Leonard Scholarship at The Academy For Lifelong Learning, 113 West Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Sadly, no public service is planned at this time, so please celebrate her in your own way until we can safely gather together. In honor of Pat, create beauty, read a poem, write a poem, listen to music (Mo-zart, Vivaldi, Leonard Cohen). Remember her by the gleam in her eye and quick smile that graced our lives. Slán for now. Happy trails to our Bard! May the road rise to meet you, the wind always be at your back and may angel's wings take you to your soul's desire. We do hope to meet you again! Please visit www.alexanderfh.net for online guest book and condolences.
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