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MARY JEANNE (McNULTY) LEFFERS

Obituary
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MARY JEANNE (McNULTY) LEFFERS, was born on Jan. 30, 1927, the daughter of Bernard Patrick and Regina Reynolds McNulty, in Fort Wayne, Ind. She died in San Francisco, Calif. on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, while on vacation with her son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Kristy Leffers, at her side. She was 86 years old. As a young woman, she was a member of the "Rollerettes," a precision skating dance team, at Bell's Roller Skating rink in Fort Wayne, and she was an avid promoter of physical activity throughout her life. She started running before she was 50 years old, and delighted in competing-winning dozens of ribbons, medals, and trophies over the many years she participated. Just as important, for Mom, was the interaction with people and animals when she lived in Monterey, Calif., she often ran past the otters in Monterey Bay, and called out to those she recognized. During her retirement, she gained state recognition as "Older Hoosier of the Year," for Monroe and Owen Counties, in 1998, for her work on the Senior Games Advisory Council. Our mother was always intellectually active, as well. At 40 years old, with young children still at home, she earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne. She completed her master's degree in Library Science at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Ind., and spent the majority of her career serving patrons at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne. She was the branch manager at the Tecumseh Branch on East State Street for many years, and loved reading to the children with her homemade, life-sized doll next to her. Helping children learn to read was paramount to Mom. One of her youngest grandchildren posted this: "You have always been there, helping me. I learned bigger and better words when you read to me. And I learned how to sign my name in kindergarten!" Another grandchild talked about how Mom instilled the importance of higher education in her-and the value of reading. Two days before her death, Mom was holding her namesake, great-grandchild Lucy Jeanne, in her lap, and reading to her. The name of the book was Love You Forever. Mom was the author of a brief biography of Emerine Jane Holman Hamilton, the founder of the first public lending library, which was included in the book Hidden Heroines, a publication of the Fort Wayne Women's Bureau. She also authored a history of Indiana for children, as well as many book reviews for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, essays for professional library journals, and genealogical pieces for her extended McNulty family. Before retiring from professional service, she was the senior librarian at Soledad Prison, in California, where she wrote Prison Library - One Day, published in the quarterly publication of the Special Libraries Association. She also wrote a guide for prisoners, which explained how to use legal books to research their cases. It was distributed to all California prison libraries. Our mother embraced numerous causes including recycling, state parks, and water conservation. Perhaps most important to her was the promotion of awareness for hearing impairments. Her nearly lifelong hearing impairment led her to believe that the word "disabled" meant only that one found a way to make things work. Upon retiring in 1992, she lived in Bloomington and Richmond, Ind., for several years each. She worked with the Bloomington Support Group for the Hearing Impaired, to promote the need for an enhanced 911 system for the disabled. For the Bloomington Council for Community Accessibility, she helped produce a video to train hospital personnel to interact with those patients who had disabilities. Mom also tutored seniors at Ivy Tech on using various computer programs. She logged all of the books at the Bloomington Adult Community Center into the computer, and she catalogued books at the Mental Health Center. When she returned to her hometown of Fort Wayne to live, she took great delight in her volunteer work at the Georgetown branch of the Allen County Public Library. During the latter part of her life, all of her geographical moves were motivated by a desire to be closer to her children, who were scattered across Indiana and California. One lived overseas for a time, and she became a seasoned world traveler in her fifties. She most loved Ireland, but visited countries as varied as Egypt and Portugal, Italy and Greece, with members of her family in tow. She was a devout Catholic throughout her life, and most recently was a member of Saint Jude's Catholic Church, in Fort Wayne. She married Robert Edward Leffers on Sept. 14, 1946, and he preceded her in death on Feb. 4, 1992. Surviving are their eight children, Suzanne Elaine Katt of Indianapolis, Mary Regina (Malcolm McCaleb) Leffers of Pentwater, Mich., Laura Lynn (Will) Bybee of Spencer, Ind., Daniel Robert (Pamela) Leffers of Fort Wayne, Matthew Patrick (Kristy) Leffers of San Francisco, Calif., Denise Anne Leffers of Los Gatos, Calif., Stephan John (Marianne) Leffers of Fort Wayne, and Kathryn Noreen (Dave Hagy) Leffers of Richmond, Ind.; also surviving are 20 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren; her sister, Patricia Noreen McNulty Putnam; and her brother, Gerald Reynolds (Barbara) McNulty; as well as her extended family and numerous friends. "She was dearly loved." Mass of Christian Burial is 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at Saint Jude Catholic Church, Fort Wayne, with calling one hour prior. Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 at D. O. McComb & Sons Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Avenue. We will pray the rosary at 7 p.m. on the day of visitation, and those who wish to participate are invited to join us. Contributions in memory of Mary Jeanne Leffers may be made to the Allen County Public Library Foundation at 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Ind. 46802 (online at acpl.info), or to St. Mary's Soup Kitchen. To sign the online guest book, please go to www.mccombandsons.com

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Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Sept. 29, 2013
Funeral Home
D.O. McComb & Sons Funeral Homes - Lakeside Park
1140 Lake Avenue Ft.Wayne, IN 46805
(260) 426-9494
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