Emma Jane (Paxson) Leach, of Medford, Ore. passed away April 5, 2014. Emma was born July 4, 1919 in Green City, Missouri. She was the middle child of eight siblings, all but one having preceded her in death except youngest sister, Alta Eppenbaugh, who is 88.
Emma married the late Jack Leach January 1, 1940 and was married 57 years when Jack passed January 3, 1997. She started married life in Rako, Minn. on a small farm in a modest farmhouse and had five children in six and one-half years. Emma and Jack moved to Baudette, Minn. 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 where Jack lived out his life. Later Emma moved to Salem where she lived with her daughter, Katherine, for six years before moving back to Southern Oregon to live with her daughter, Esther, in April 2013.
Those that knew her know she bravely lost her battle with Alzheimer's but she truly won at the life she led. For her family gatherings Emma made the best biscuits and 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 and 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 and 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 is survived by her children, John Leach, Esther Freeman, Dorene Goin, Katherine Gilbertson, and Janice JackBaker; 12 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, and her oldest granddaughter, April Peck.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Ruch Community Bible Church. Arrangements in care of Conger-Morris.
Our family wishes to thank A Loving Home ADF who cared for her in her final days.
Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer's foundation or plant a tree in her honor.