Maxine Dorothy (Fraser) Leonard, Irrigon High graduate 1951, died near family in Southern California, where she spent her final four years. Maxine’s final rest is beside her beloved husband Ardee Clayton Leonard in Mountain Shadow Cemetery, Sonora, California.
Maxine was born in Kendrick, Idaho, the fourth child of Minnie Ellen (Riley) and Kenneth Leroy Fraser; her family moved to Juliaetta, Idaho, then to Irrigon, Oregon. She attended college in La Grande, Oregon, married her first husband Thomas Piedalue Menager and moved throughout Oregon, Washington, and Idaho due to his work improving waterways and dams — which brought them to Tuolumne County, California, in 1956.
They opened and ran “Tom’s Cozy Kitchen” in North Sonora. After her third child, Maxine worked with other mothers at her children’s nursery school. A few years later, Maxine began caring for foster children, along with her own. Her home often overflowed with neighborhood children and friends.
Maxine returned to school when her children were all in grammar school, taking the LVN nursing program. She worked for many years at Cleta Marsh’s “Old Sierra” Hospital. Often she stayed late or came early, doing special tasks to make her patients happier and more comfortable. Many became close friends.
In 1975, Maxine married Ardee Clayton Leonard — expanding her family to include Ardee, his daughter Lora Ann Shipley and her family, extended Leonard family, and Lora’s dear Grandmother Francis Davis.
Maxine’s zest for life, determination to get things accomplished, and love of family and friends filled her life and others with many happy moments. Her interests included baking (which she loved to share), gardening, refinishing furniture, model trains, camping in her RV, genealogy (DAR), church (YLI, Interfaith), and always being there to help friends and family or to celebrate with them.
Maxine is survived by her children: Linda Durnall, Sonora; Debra (Chris) Portway, Thousand Oaks; Kenneth (Stephanie) Menager, Westlake Village; Lora Shipley (Granite Bay); seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and her sister Ellen (Robert) Brown, Hermiston, Oregon. Two brothers, Elton and Jim Fraser, preceded her in death as did her husband Ardee Leonard.
January 9th, 11:30: “Celebration of Life” at Fireman’s Museum/Senior Lounge, Washington Street, Sonora; 11 a.m. graveside. Mountain Shadow Cemetery. Prayers (varied locations, times) include St. Patrick’s 11 a.m. mass, November 22nd.
In lieu of flowers, donations: Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.