KINGS MOUNTAIN-- Mary Frances Benfield Leonard, 86, longtime resident of Kings Mountain, passed away with family by her side after a brief illness on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2013, two days before her 87th birthday. Frances was born in Statesville to the late Robert and Gladys Benfield.
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She was also preceded in death by her beloved husband of 49 years, Robert Blackwell "Black" Leonard; her brother, John Benfield; and son-in-law Ron Bagwell.
Frances married and moved to Lillington to raise her family and pursue a career. There she was an active member of Lillington Baptist Church. A devoted and supporting wife and mother, Frances loved to be surrounded by her children. A dedicated member of First Baptist Church, Kings Mountain for over 50 years, Frances enjoyed serving others through various church ministries. Active in her community, she was a longtime member of the Kings Mountain Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and Open Gate Garden Club. Frances demonstrated her generosity to children in need through her employment with Cleveland County Schools. Frances loved music and was a self-taught pianist. She often played the piano for church and community organizations. She made the world more beautiful through her love of crafts including quilting, crochet, and ceramics. Her hospitality was well known and she loved to cook for family and friends who enjoyed her corn bread, pound cakes, and buttermilk biscuits. Our lives are richer for having known her and we will miss her dearly.
She is survived by Beattie Leonard and wife Linda of Asheboro; Terry Leonard and wife Chris of Dallas; Camille Bagwell of Kings Mountain; "Ma" was particularly proud of her six grandchildren, Beattie Leonard and wife Betsy, Kevin Leonard of Denver, Colo., Windy Ledford and husband Mike, Claire "CJ" Torrence and husband Stephen of Kings Mountain, John Leonard of Charlotte, and Brad Leonard of Charleston, S.C.; six great-grandchildren; and sister, Bobbie Ann Benfield Gregory and husband Jim of Columbia, S.C.
Visitation: The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the Stained Glass Room at the Church.
Memorial Service: 3 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church
Officiating: Dr. John Sloan
Internment: Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain
Funeral Home: Harris Funeral Home, Kings Mountain, is handling the arrangements.
Memorials: May be made to First Baptist Church, Building Fund, 605 W. King Street, Kings Mountain, NC 28086
Online Guest Register: www.harrisfunerals.com
Published in Shelby Star on Oct. 3, 2013