Cover photo for LaVelle McCain Leopard's Obituary
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1939 LaVelle McCain Leopard 2024

LaVelle McCain Leopard

May 3, 1939 — February 1, 2024

Thompson's Station

LaVelle McCain Leopard, age 84 of Thompson’s Station, TN, peacefully left her spirit with us on February 1st, 2024. She was as unique as her name, especially for a girl born in 1939 in the rural farming community of Lexington, AL. Blonde-headed, with a mischievous grin and a true sparkle in her eyes, she grew up loving to learn, writing and collecting poems, and picking cotton with her parents and six siblings, foreshadowing a lifetime of loving dedication to family, hard work and sacrifice, and unassuming authenticity.

LaVelle loved all things beautiful, colorful and growing—flowers, vegetables, plants, and especially babies and children. She was a master at nursing along and tending to all of them. She could also sew as well as any Italian tailor, making her own and her daughter’s wedding dresses, formal dresses, and clothes for her children and others. She cooked her vegetable garden’s harvest and many other things with love and skill, especially for her family. In addition to being Mom to three and Granny to three more, she briefly taught school, as well as volunteered and worked in various church classrooms and nurseries. When each of her grandchildren arrived—Grady, Wallace and Nonie—her heart was as full as one’s could be. Finally, she loved to laugh and had a good one, genuine, loud and often uncontrollable.

LaVelle worked her way through Florence State College (now the University of North Alabama) in the school cafeteria and in Detroit most summers at a Top Hat restaurant. She was graduated in 1961 with a B.S. in Home Economics and then taught in the Mt. Hope and Athens, AL schools. Not long after she began teaching, a young Athens newspaper editor, Bailey Leopard, came to write a story about her and fellow teachers, and on July 5th, 1962, they married. In March 1963, they had their first child, Louise, then Becky in September 1964 and Bailey, Jr. in April 1969. LaVelle generously but genuinely described her three children as her “best accomplishments.”

In 1969, the family moved from Athens to Franklin, TN. Four years later, when her husband pursued his dream to own and run a newspaper, The Williamson Leader, LaVelle supported him and worked long hours there in many roles from the beginning, notably writing her “Kitchen Kranny” column. She also continued to work as a homemaker and mother and to tend her large vegetable garden, flowers and plants. In 1993, Bailey, Sr. had a major stroke and was significantly disabled until his death in 2015. Throughout almost all of those 22 years, LaVelle was his sole caregiver. Additionally, she and Becky kept the newspaper running for five years after his stroke. LaVelle then returned to her career roots in childcare and cooking, working in the Christ Community Church nursery and in the Franklin Special School District’s MAC program and cafeterias. She also sewed in a local bridal shop and at home for additional income.

Once able to retire, LaVelle continued to, as she would say, piddle” with her gardening. As always, she loved nothing more than spending time with her children, grandchildren, extended family and close friends. She especially loved traveling from time to time with her “gang” of lifelong friends, Shirley, Phyllis, Neva and Nancy, and returned to her hometown often to spend time with Shirley, Nancy and her remaining family there. These things, this time together with those she loved deeply, were her greatest joy even if she was uncharacteristically sitting quietly and just taking it all in. She certainly did love to talk!

LaVelle leaves her spirit here with: her daughters, Louise Leopard Wachsman (Harvey) and Becky Leopard, and her son, Bailey Leopard; her grandchildren, Grady, Wallace and Nonie Leopard, and their mother, Katy Leopard; her sister, Rose McCain Hancock, and sisters-in-law, Nancy Leopard Cutts-Presley and Malinda Leopard Dillard (Jim); and many beloved nieces, nephews and their children. She was preceded in death by: her husband of 53 years, Bailey Leopard, Sr.; her siblings, Hattie Rene McCain Hunt, and Sam, Buck, Gwen, and Terence McCain; and her parents, Richard and Blanche McCain. 

A memorial service in LaVelle’s honor will be held on May 4th at Williamson Memorial Gardens, 3009 Columbia Ave, Franklin, TN 37064, at 12:30 pm, with visitation immediately preceding at 11:30 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts to either GraceWorks Ministries in Franklin or the University of North Alabama’s Early Childhood Education Greatest Needs Fund.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of LaVelle McCain Leopard, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, March 4, 2024

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service

3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 4, 2024

12:30 - 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

Williamson Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service

3009 Columbia Avenue, Franklin, TN 37064

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