Music was in her heart
Karen Edith Wright Leonard was born in Heber City, Utah, on Nov.1, 1941, to Vivian Deloras Turner and Leo William Wright. She lived in Park City, Layton, Bountiful, and Farmington. Karen believed that “if you want friends, be a friend.” She found them in neighborhoods, at the Layton Elementary School, in the band and classrooms of Central Davis Junior High School, and at Davis High School as a “D Book” editor and in several clubs. Karen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education at the University of Utah in 1960. She taught second grade in Bountiful’s newly-opened Oak Hills Elementary School for five years.
Music was a significant part of her life. At age five, Karen sang her first solo. Later, she took vocal lessons and sang as a soloist and in trios, duets, women’s groups, choirs and the University Choral. She believed that “Music touches feelings that words alone cannot.” She sought to serve faithfully in callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—as a counselor in the Stake Relief Society, Stake Music Director, compassionate service leader, and as pianist, chorister in all church organizations, and choir leader in five wards. She treasured the memory of leading a 325-member choir when the Farmington North Stake was divided, and the 64-member choir of adults and youth at the Bountiful Temple dedication.
Karen met Glen Milton Leonard on Jan. 20, 1967, on a blind date with a taco supper arranged by neighbors. They married on March 15, 1968, in the Salt Lake Temple. They were blessed with three sons whose lives reflect the influence of a loving mother. She read with them, played with them, supported their activities, celebrated their marriages and rejoiced in their many achievements. She loved her grandchildren: Sara Jane, Jack, and Isaac; Brittany, Megan, Joshua, Paul, Erica, Lydia, Joseph, and Clara; Gavin and Scarlett.
Karen served in the PTA, taught Head Start, tutored elementary students, and taught beginning piano students for 23 years. She mastered the skills of cross-stitching, knitting, and crocheting. In 2007-2008, she and Glen served an LDS proselyting mission in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she taught keyboard and led a Christmas choir. Our family will remember her cheerful optimism, Christmas Eve dinners, homemade pies and cookies, dinner rolls, Sunday meals, and vanilla ice cream in a glass of home-grown raspberries.
In 2013, Karen was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare form of dementia which advanced quickly. Gradually, she lost the ability to speak and to care for her needs and, in her final days, to sing and smile. The family expresses appreciation for friends and neighbors who have brightened her day with their visits and help. We thank the Home Helper caregivers as well as Brighton Hospice, and Life Care Center nurses, CNAs, and staff for their tender care during Karen’s last month on earth.
Our wife and mother left quietly in the early morning of Jan. 30, 2018. She was predeceased by her parents, Leo (1904-1987) and Vivian (1906-2000), and brothers Neldyn Turner (1924-1925), Nelven L. (1925-1990) and his wife Marilyn (1937-1978), Gaylen Shelley (1927-2004), and LaRell J. (1934-2012). Karen is survived by her husband, their sons and wives, Cory (Michelle Erickson), Kyle (Shawnie Crane), and Keith (Kristen Brady) and 13 grandchildren; sisters-in-law Avona (LaRell) and Elva (Gaylen).
Services will be held Saturday, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m. at the Farmington North Stake Center, 729 West Shepard Lane. Viewings will be held Friday, Feb. 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 1941 N. Main St., Farmington, and at the meetinghouse prior to the services from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Interment, Farmington City Cemetery. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com.