Eileen Frances McKiernan Leonard, age 78 of Jackson, TN, passed away at her home in Gulf Shores, AL on Monday, August 15, 2022 after a one-year battle with leiomyosarcoma bladder cancer.
Eileen was born on April 26, 1944, in Newark, NJ to George and Veronica McKiernan. She was a 1962 graduate of Neptune High School in Neptune, NJ, where she graduated salutatorian of her class and was voted best looking and most athletic among her peers. It was also there that she met the love of her life, Mason, in Mr. O’Brien’s history class her junior year. She went on to graduate with top honors from the College of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ.
After working as a phone operator (where she spoke with Frank Sinatra as is now family lore) and a teacher, Eileen’s most important and rewarding career was as a homemaker and mother raising four children. Later in life she developed a love of tap dancing and led the Tip Top Tappers senior dance group in Jackson, TN for 25 years, bringing entertainment to nursing home patients across the West Tennessee region. She went on to further develop her musical talents, becoming an accomplished harpist – having played in music festivals across the country and in Ireland – a place she loved dearly as evidenced by her passion for Saint Patrick’s Day (her St Paddy’s Day cupcakes now the stuff of legend). Eileen had many talents, and above all she was an expert seamstress, devoting her time and talents to her church, where she made all new vestments. She also sewed the wedding dresses and bridesmaids’ attire for all three of her daughters.
Her husband, children, and grandchildren loved her like no other. Eileen was a living saint. She was their best friend and conscience. And the true love and partnership she and her husband shared will forever be remembered, admired, and aspired to for generations to come. If her children are a fraction of the mother/grandmother she was, then they will consider their lives a success.
She is preceded in death by her parents, George and Veronica McKiernan, and her dear daughter, Kara Leonard Allen. She is survived by her loving husband of 56 years, Mason Leonard Sr. of Gulf Shores, AL; her son, Mason Leonard Jr. (Dena) of Jackson, TN; daughters, Eileen Nichols (Barrett) of Jackson, TN, and Kiernan Leonard (Jeromy) of Sellersburg, IN; grandchildren, AnnaBeth Cornelison, Trey Leonard, Clyde Allen, Connor Allen, Macy Allen, Sloane Nichols, Albert “Banks” Edwards, and Wells Edwards; great grandchild, Adelyn Cornelison; sister, Maureen Ambos (Charlie) of Cinnaminson, NJ, and a host of nieces and nephews.
SERVICES: Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 20, 2022, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Jackson, TN. Visitation will be on Friday, August 19, 2022, at the church from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., prior to the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1665 US-45 Bypass, Jackson, TN 38305, or online stmarys.tn.org.
Arrington Funeral Directors 148 W. University Parkway Jackson, TN 38305