Ruth Martin Leonard was born on April 11, 1945 in Columbus, Ga. She was the ninth child of Linwood and Ruth Martin. She was raised by her older sister Martha and brother-in-law Charles Cleghorn after the passing of her parents. She attended Carver elementary school and was a member of the 1964 class of Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia. There, she was a Charmette, a member of the chorus, and an original member of the Carverettes singing group. At the time of her passing, she was a proud member of the Wynnton-Area Neighhood reunion committee, where she helped organized events and brought together members of the Wynnton-area neighborhood.
During the summer of 1961, she met a young man by the name of William Henry Leonard, Sr. at a gathering on Fifth Avenue in Columbus. On November 15, 1964 they were married in holy matrimony at the Peace Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga.
In 1972, they moved north to Atlanta, GA and purchased a home in Decatur, Georgia where they raised their family and where William still continues to live today.
Ruth gained employment at a few establishments before landing a job with the Atlanta Housing Authority where she retired in 2002.
Ruth was also an accomplished author, writing a book of poems entitled Crossing Baldwin. Her love for writing began in her elementary school years when she found herself always immersed in books. She would always take her reading and literature classes more serious than her other classes. It was a joy for her to sit in the front of the class and absorb all of the knowledge that would later become her inspiration to write her first book of poems. She pushed the power of education onto her children for that was one thing no one could take away.
Preceding in her in death are her parents, Linwood and Ruth Martin, her daughter (Antonia), five sisters – Martha Spellers-Cleghorn (Charles), Elizabeth Martin (Jimmy), Mary Helen Martin (James), Joanne Martin (Lindberg), and Almarine Martin (Tony) and two brothers – Arthur Martin and Sam Spellers. She is survived by one sister (Patricia Martin), her loving husband of 56 years (William), her two sons Gwuana R. Thomas, Sr., William H. Leonard, III and a daughter Makeba Leonard, a host of grandchildren: Gwuana, Jr., Damien, Alexander, Louise, Jazzmond, Anthony, Emmanuel, Eric Jr., T’erica and Erielle, six great grands, and a plethora of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews.
Mom, you were just a girl,
So many years ago.
You had your loves and had your dreams,
You watched us come and go.
You watched us make the same mistakes,
That you had made before,
But that just made you hold us tight,
And love us all the more.
We haven’t always thought about
The things that you have seen.
To us, you’ve just been ‘Ma’,
No thought of who you’ve been.
But we remember now in love,
Your life from start to end,
And we’re just glad God shared you,
As Ma, and as a friend.
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