Carroll “Janice” (West) Leonard was born in Fairview, Oklahoma on March 13, 1943 to parents Clovis R. and Mildred L. (Sober) West. She died at home April 17, 2021 from the effects of endometrial cancer.
Janice treasured the closeness of both family and friends growing up amid small town life in western Oklahoma. Her loving parents provided constant nurturing in her early life. Her extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would become enduring parts of her life. Janice had two older brothers: Karl and Gerald, and a younger brother Neil. When Neil was born, Janice tended to him as if he were hers to raise. Janice would later attend school in Taloga, Oklahoma. Her school was small; only ten in her Senior class.
Growing up, Janice contributed to the family, helping with the garden and cooking chores, and even working in the raising of cotton. She excelled in 4H; loved sewing and placed nationally in the Make-it-with-Wool contest; and was Valedictorian of her high school class. Janice worked hard to save money to go to college at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. She majored in Sociology, with a specialty in counseling. Janice was a caring and thoughtful person, and her friendships were an important part of her life.
It was at OSU that she met Robert “Gary” Leonard on a blind date. By the time they were seniors, they knew that marriage was the next important step in their life. Janice and Gary were married in Taloga, Oklahoma on August 15, 1965, shortly after college graduation. They both continued their educations, attending graduate school at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
They would remain together as loving life partners for more than 55 years. She was a sweet, caring person, careful shopper, and terrific cook.
Following graduation, they settled in the Dallas area, shortly building a home in the small community of Plano that would grow to become a major suburb. Their marriage was blessed by the addition of two sons: Scott and Derek. Janice quickly moved to make family the centerpiece of their lives together, while developing many lifelong friends. The glue that would hold their lives together was the fellowship offered by a small new church in Plano called Christ United Methodist Church. Especially important to them was the Family Living Sunday School class that focused on family and faith development.
In addition to nurturing their two sons, Janice had many interests including reading, spirituality, tennis, photography, and the card game Bridge, at which she always strived to win. Competitiveness was a strong quality of Janice’s nature. She did not like to lose at any sport or game, so she excelled at the ones she liked. When the opportunity for travel arose, it was Janice who researched and organized the family trips to Europe.
Janice took advantage of an opportunity to get into the business world, by joining the JCPenney Company upon its move from NYC in 1987 to its new headquarters in Plano, Texas. Janice used her eye for color and style to become a buyer in the JCP toddler area, buying for both retail and catalog. She followed this career for more than ten years; and later becoming an independent sales representative for several toddler lines.
Following a five-year period of living in the D.C. area, Janice planned the update of their home in Plano, and she and Gary returned in 2009 to continue life there and be so much closer to Scott and Derek and their families and long-time friends. Having granddaughters sleep over became a frequent blessing.
Janice is survived by her husband Gary Leonard; sons Scott A. Barnett and his wife Paula, and Derek A. Leonard and his wife Amy, and their children Ashleigh, Michelle, Taryn, and Caroline. She is also survived by brothers Gerald West and his wife Christel of Atlanta, Georgia, and Neil West and his wife Barbara of Enid, Oklahoma. She was preceded in death by her parents Clovis and Mildred West, and a brother Karl West.
A celebration of Janice’s life will be held Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 3101 Coit Rd., Plano, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Journey of Hope Grief Support Center: johgriefsupport.org
Linda Sue Gulick (Dunham)
Linda Sue Gulick (Dunham) passed peacefully in her sleep to be with our Lord on February 15th, 2021. She is survived by her husband Matt Gulick, daughter Chelsea Reed, son and wife Curtis and Frances Gulick, all in the local area, and sister Connie Page of Denver. She was preceded in death by her father Joseph Oliver Dunham, mother Iva Rosalie Dunham, and aunts Nora and Ruth Long.
Linda was born November 2nd, 1953 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where her father was Principal of the American School and her mother taught math. She was born prematurely with no incubator available, and brought back to the U.S. with her older sister, Connie Lou, by her mother as soon as she was strong enough to travel. She grew up in Tulsa, OK until her family moved to southern California when she was twelve years old. She loved ballet and her father drove her 60 miles each way for the best lessons after school. She graduated from El Dorado High School in Placentia, CA in 1972. Her later studies included times in Florida, Winnipeg, London, The University of Oklahoma for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance in 1975, and The University of Utah for her Master of Fine Arts in Ballet in 1977. Her first job was with the Etgen-Atkinson School of Ballet (the teaching school for the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet Company). She met her future husband, Matt Gulick, through a mutual friend on May 20th, 1978. A week later they had their first date and they knew it was love at first sight. They were married in Dallas seven months later on December 17th, 1978. Linda continued teaching ballet in Dallas but later moved on to Toby’s School of Dance in Richardson for 19 years, The Hockaday School of Dallas, was the director of Bright Beginnings Preschool at Disciples Christian Church of Plano for 16 years, and taught ballet at Canyon Creek Day School of Plano several years as well. The number of young children whose lives were touched by Linda’s dedicated teaching and caring was immeasurable.
Linda was the artist in the family. After teaching ballet or directing preschool all day, she would spend hours hand painting thousands of items for the craft business she and Matt operated for many years. She created beautiful pieces without a single painting class.
The Plano Symphony Orchestra was another love of Linda’s. She volunteered for the Guild in several capacities over the years, just like her mother who provided the impetus for Matt and Linda’s involvement in those activities soon after she had moved to Plano and became involved herself. Like mother, like daughter. Linda’s love of music began with her parent’s influence. She was not only a beautiful ballerina, but she played piano and organ, and had a beautiful voice as well.
Linda and Matt had two beautiful children, Curtis and Chelsea, who have been part of the closest family imaginable. She supported them in every endeavor they attempted. She taught Chelsea ballet for ten years, and chaperoned Curtis’s high school marching band performances. Linda also helped chaperone senior high youth groups on Spring Break ski trips and skied most of the mountains with the kids. She was so proud of both of them for becoming fourth generation graduates of The University of Oklahoma. That family increased when Curtis married Frances, who became their second daughter.
Eventually Matt convinced her to retire in 2018 like he had done a few years earlier so they could travel even more all over the world – their favorite hobby for several years prior to retirement. They were able to continue traveling even after her diagnosis of Adrenocortical Carcinoma in Summer of 2018. She had multiple passports with additional pages added to accommodate all of the stamps from the many different countries she visited over the years.
This close family is what gave Linda the support and encouragement to continue fighting her rare cancer. Like her mother, she subjected herself to multiple trials of medical treatments knowing her cancer had no cure, but hoping her efforts would provide help for other victims in the future. We know she is now wearing her pointe shoes, dancing and singing with the angels above, and is happy and in no pain. We miss you and love you, Linda, and know we will all be united again.