Arlene M. Leonard
Sept 6, 1950 – August 10, 2022
Arlene was born the eldest of two daughters on September 6, 1950, by way of Bronx, New York and grew up with her younger sister Renee on the beaches of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. She was a free spirit who considered herself a life-long New Yorker and will be greatly missed.
She was a proud graduate of Far Rockaway High School and would reminisce about her years as a “Sea Horse” (her high school mascot) with her grandchildren years later. It was in those years that lifelong friendships developed and when she took on the nickname of “Greenie”. Arlene was a traveler in her early years and traveled the world with her dear friend Sally who was referred to in the family as “Aunt Sally”. These were also the years when Arlene developed her love for all things cool: Rock n ’Roll, muscle cars, and driving fast. These passions would serve her well in her next role in life.
Arlene married the love of her life on March 10, 1975. They were married for 46 years until his passing in July 2021. At the time, Arlene was 24 and “Frankie” (her name for her sweetheart Frank Leonard) was 37. This marriage thrust Arlene into the role of stepmom to Frank’s three children (Kelly, Scott & Chris) and she took on this role with selfless grace. The kids have fond memories of their “cool” stepmom and the influence she had in their schoolwork just as much as their love of music. They remember her spending time at the kitchen table being a steady support in their learning just as much as her love of the Grateful Dead and the Beatles. They felt her love immediately and continued to feel it throughout their lives. Arlene and Frank brought their pride and joy into the world June 3rd, 1982. Kimmy was a gift to the family and while technically an only child, was viewed by the Leonard crew as one of their own: the youngest sister of 4. This dynamic was possible through Arlene’s selfless spirit, putting herself second in all circumstances. This resulted in a beautiful extended family that included “Aunt Barbara” (Frank’s ex-wife), “Uncle Paul” (her husband), and their kids as well (collectively known as the Quinn clan). The strength of this family dynamic was on display years later when all were present at Kim’s wedding.
Frank and Arlene moved to Colorado in the mid-80’s and called it home for nearly 30 years. Those were the years that Arlene played the role of her life as mother to Kim and formed an unbreakable bond as mother-daughter. It was in those years that Arlene developed decades-long friendships through her time at time at work, church and supporting Kim in all her school-aged pursuits. Those friends knew Arlene well and could fill volumes with their story telling.
Arlene’s role as mother culminated when Kim moved off to college to meet the love of her life (Jared) in college at Nebraska. Frank and Arlene would burn countless miles on I-80 traveling back and forth throughout Kim’s college years, and post college years as Kim and Jared planned a wedding and started a family of their own. While Arlene considered all the grandkids of Kelly, Scott, and Chris her own, her role as grandmother was elevated when Kim’s first child was born in 2006.
Frank and Arlene finally made the move to Nebraska in 2014 and officially became a permanent piece of the Hollinger family. The theme of extended family continued with the Hollinger clan when both Frank and Arlene were regular fixtures at all the family events large and small. This togetherness was special and made possible through Arlene’s selfless nature and overall desire to promote family. This move to Nebraska made it possible for Arlene to develop deeper relationships with the Hollinger grandkids and for some of them to develop shared interests including a love of crime drama and gin rummy strategy.
It was in this final chapter of life that Arlene’s love for Frank was on full display. Throughout their marriage, both served as caregiver for the other. Arlene cared for Frank’s ability to be the father he wanted to be by embracing the extended family and ensuring they had the ability to help the kids in any way needed throughout their lives. Frank served as provider and health care advocate being the constant reminder (some would call it nagging) to ensure that Arlene was taking care of herself. In short, they were dependent on each other… the kind of dependency that only comes from 46 years of love and marriage. While the sadness of losing Arlene will be with the family for some time, there is joy in the reunion that is taking place in heaven and the likelihood of a big extended family surrounding both Arlene and Frank is undoubtable.
Survived by children: Kelly Carey, Scott Leonard (Melissa), Christopher Leonard (Deborah), Kimberly Hollinger (Jared). Grandchildren: Kyle and Walter “Boo” Carey, Mackenzie, Riley & Kellan Leonard, Ronan & Aidan Leonard, Maren, Tommy, Kolbe & Maeve Hollinger; sister Renee Stransky (Terry). Several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
COMMITTAL SERVICE: A private family committal service will be held at Resurrection Cemetery Mausoleum in Omaha, NE. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to: Hearts United for Animals (https://www.hua.org).