Thelma Marie “Curly” Leonard was born on May 20, 1923 in Fredericktown, Missouri to parents James and Grace Skaggs. She was one of five children. At a young age, her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she lived until graduating from Phoenix Union High School. At the age of 15, Curly lost her mother. She helped care for her two younger siblings while finishing high school.
Following high school, Curly moved to San Diego with her father and two of her four siblings. She worked at Solar Aircraft Company in San Diego in the early 1940’s where she met her husband to be, Chuck Leonard. They were married in December of 1943 just prior to Chuck’s enlisting in the United States Army and serving overseas.
Chuck and Curly’s first daughter, Charlie, was born in 1947, followed by a son, Chico, in 1948 and a second daughter, Chelly, in 1951. When all three children were school age, Curly went to work for the San Diego Police Department in the Records Division where she worked for 25 years before retiring. During this time she managed a busy household. Chuck and the kids all had a bag lunch that she made every morning before going to work, home cooked meals every evening, clean and neatly pressed clothes to wear each day and support for their many activities … and all with a smile and pleasant attitude.
Upon retirement in 1981, Chuck and Curly made many trips to Fisher’s Landing on the Colorado River where they fished and boated with friends and family. They also enjoyed some traveling in the United States visiting friends and relatives and found time to became expert gardeners. They shared a lifelong love for sports and were very active in supporting the baseball, soccer and softball that their kids, grandkids and great grandkids played. Even as recent as last year, Curly was a regular fan at the great grandchildrens’ sporting events. She was blessed with a total of five grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren.
Beginning in 1985, a yearly highlight for her was the family reunion which she and Chuck nurtured for years. For the past few years, she has represented her generation as the eldest living family member. Family ties have been strengthened and perpetuated by the many years these reunions have been celebrated. She was a big part of making this happen.
Curly became a member of the Catholic Church in 2001. She cherished her time as a parishioner and served, alongside Chuck, as a Eucharistic Minister and as support for the Pantry services. Together they participated in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, took Communion to parishioners who were not able to attend church, attended Mass, met new friends and took on projects like repairing aging hymnals. Chuck and Curly celebrated 67 years of marriage prior to his passing in 2011.
Curly was very proud of her family, was thankful for her many wonderful friends and was grateful to have a life full of so many meaningful memories and experiences. She always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to San Diego Kaiser Hospice or a charity of your choice.
Services are scheduled for Thursday, June 8 at 12 noon at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church located at 2766 Navajo Road, El Cajon, CA 92020
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to San Diego Kaiser Hospice or a charity of your choice.
Celebration of Life
- Date: June 8, 2017
- Time: 12:00 Noon
- Location: Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
- Address: 2766 Navajo Road, El Cajon, California 92020
- Directions: Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
Kristine on June 10, 2017
Jody Sammet on June 07, 2017