Leigh Haney (Brill) Singh (1970 - 2019)

  • "Deepest Sympathy to the Brill family. Sandy Hart"
  • "David and Susan I remember Leigh as a fun and loving..."
    - Margaret Good
  • "Dave, Susan, Courtney and family, May you always feel..."
    - Mary Clanahan
  • "So sorry for your great loss. Our thoughts and prayers are..."
  • "Susan and David, What a beautiful daughter and caring..."
    - Laura Glunt Rosser
Service Information
Heishman Funeral Home, Valley Funeral Home Branch
14116 S. Middle Rd.
Edinburg, VA
Saturday, Jun. 15, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Roanoke, VA
View Map
Memorial service
Saturday, Jun. 15, 2019
12:00 PM
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Roanoke, VA
View Map

Grace, Courage, Strength
"My dogs have taught me to define myself not by what I must overcome, but by what I have the courage to become".

Leigh was born in Greenville, NC Jan. 26, 1970 to Susan Crowder Brill and David Brill. Little did they know what a special soul they had brought into the world. Leigh's physical limitations were a constant challenge from the start; however, from an early age, she developed unbelievable courage, determination, and a stubborn drive to make her light shine.

She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Roanoke College, was awarded the prestigious Fintel Scholarship for academic excellence and was part of the choir that travelled all over the U.S. and the Bahamas. She went on to earn her Master's degree in Psychology from James Madison University with a specialization in Community Service.

Leigh first worked in the Community Services Board in Harrisonburg and then at The Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Virginia in Roanoke.

But her true love was writing. Leigh published her first story at the age of 15; since then, her writing has reached international audiences through publications including Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul, the Guideposts book, Soul Menders, and national magazines Just Labs and Pets: Part of the Family. But her greatest work was the story of her partnership with her first service dog in a book titled A Dog Named Slugger. Years after its publication, Leigh still receives a steady stream of messages from strangers all over the world talking about how inspired they feel after reading it.

Leigh developed a deep friendship with Carol Willoughby, who founded St. Francis Service Dogs in Roanoke, a friendship that lasted almost two decades. Leigh took great joy in being part of the organization as a partner, a board member, an advisor, and most of all, a friend.

Through the course of her life, Leigh had four service dogs ­ Slugger, a big yellow lab from Caring Canine Companions, Kenda, a cute yellow lab, Pato, a gorgeous Golden Retriever, and Piper, a sleek black lab, all from St. Francis Service Dogs. Each amazing dog was her constant companion and in addition to daily activities, accompanied her to Disneyworld, Disneyland, Lake Tahoe for the Community of Writer's workshop at Squaw Valley and to New York City to work with her publisher.

She combined her writing skills, eloquent public speaking, and love for dogs to be an advocate for people with disabilities. She spoke at schools, libraries, hospitals, churches, and fund-raising events raising awareness of service dogs and people with disabilities

On May 15, 2019 God reached down and drew Leigh to Himself.

Although she is no longer with us, her spirit burns brightly through the people she has touched, and the people she will touch through her writing. Her life embodies the essence of Matthew 5:16.

She is survived by her husband, Pranav; her service dog, Piper; her parents, David and Susan; her sister, Courtney; her nephew, Allen; and her grandmother, Dickie. Leigh loved her many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Leigh was predeceased by her grandfather, Harry Crowder; and her grandparents, Kenneth and Frances Brill.

A celebration of Leigh's life will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, VA June 15 with visitation at 11 a.m. followed by a memorial service beginning at noon.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to St. Francis Service Dogs. www.saintfrancisdogs.org

Leigh's website will remain active at www.myservicedogbymyside.com.

Online condolences may be left at www.valleyfs.com

Arrangements are in the care of Heishman Funeral Home Inc., Valley Funeral Service Branch, Bowmans Crossing.

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Published in Northern Virginia Daily on June 8, 2019
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