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Emma Jane (Paxson) Leach, 88

Emma was born July 4, 1919 in Green City, Missouri.  She was the middle child of eight siblings, all but one having predeceased her except youngest sister Alta Eppenbaugh age 88. Emma married the late Jack Leach January 1, 1940 and was married 57 years when Jack died January 3, 1997.  She started married life in Rako, Minnesota on a small farm in a modest farmhouse and had five children in six and one-half years.  Emma & Jack moved to Baudette, Minnesota in 1961 with all of the family except son John, who had joined the Navy.  Two years later they struck out for Oregon, landing for a short time in Prineville, before settling in Prospect for nine years.  In 1972 Emma and Jack bought a house in Ruch, Oregon where Jack lived out his life.  Later Emma moved to Salem where she lived with daughter Katherine for six years before moving back to Southern Oregon to live with daughter Esther in April 2013.   
To those that knew her, know that she bravely lost the battle to Alzheimer’s but, she truly won at the life she led. For her family gatherings Emma made the best biscuits & gravy in the world, and her cinnamon rolls were second to none!  While working as a waitress Emma served up her poem of the day with morning coffee and bacon & eggs.  She was a lady who lived her faith and shared it generously with poetry, hugs, and smiles.  While living in Ruch she became a “hang-glider” fan who took the participants cinnamon rolls and a poem whenever they landed close to her home.  She accompanied her husband’s banjo playing on a keyboard or piano and would sing the melodies they played.
Emma was known as “the walking lady” in the yellow windbreaker who walked three miles nearly everyday along Hwy 238 in Ruch and waved at each and every passing driver.  As a member of the Ruch Community Bible Church, she loved to sing and listened intently to the sermons.  In her TOPS organization, she made many dear friends. She traveled to Hawaii with her club in 1984, where she walked on Waikiki beach with her nylons on—always the perfect lady!  As a USA Dance member, she loved to dance and to watch dancing.  Traveling with a daughter, she attended national dance championships where she cheered, hugged, consoled and left them with a poem.  Emma and Jack were avid travelers. When driving to visit relatives back in Minnesota and Missouri, they would travel on the north route on the way there, and the south route on the way home.  She lived a full and fulfilling life in her more than 94 years, unconditionally loving her family and friends with a warm and nurturing heart.
Emma’s children—John Leach, Esther Freeman, Dorene Goin, Katherine  Gilbertson, and Janice Baker all are living.  She was preceded in death by her husband Jack and her oldest granddaughter April Peck.  Emma has 12 living grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and 9 great-great grandchildren.
Memorial services were held on Saturday, April 12, 2013 at the Ruch Community Bible Church followed by an after party at Esther Freeman’s home in Medford, Oregon.

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