Celine J. Leonard, formerly of Bliss Street in East Providence and of Prudence Island, passed away at home in the comfort and love of her family on Saturday, November 7, 2020 just one day after her 91st birthday. Like many of us, she lived an ordinary life, but nevertheless was an extraordinary woman who was loved by many.
A well-known author once said “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” Kind is the word that describes Celine to a tee.
Born in Fall River, she was a daughter of the late Fenelon and Mathilda (Gerard) Thiboutot. Celine was the sister of the predeceased Theresa Autote, Eva Pennington as well as Edmour, Gerard, Octave and Antonin Thiboutot.
After high school, Celine became an operator for New England Telephone, where she worked until starting her family. It was there that she met her best friends Cathy and Evelyn. They shared a sweet and treasured friendship for 75 years with a lifetime of wonderful memories.
She met her husband of 53 years, Raymond J Leonard, at the Coney Island System diner, the fine hot wiener establishment in East Providence. They fell in love and soon after they married and raised their five children in EP. They ultimately retired to their favorite place, Prudence Island, where one of their favorite pastimes was driving around the island to count the number of deer sightings. They both enjoyed the beauty and simplicity of the island. Sadly, Ray passed away in 2005 and Celine continued to enjoy time at the island with her family.
Family was the essence of her life. She is the loving Mother of her five children, Michael Leonard and his wife Paula of South Attleboro, Thomas Leonard of East Providence and his partner Linda Peck, Paula Dionisopoulos of Rehoboth, Donna Leonard Tente and her husband Bill of Seekonk, Patrick Leonard and his wife Susan of Rehoboth, her daughter in law Gretchen Leonard and 6 godchildren.
Celine loved her 12 grandchildren and was a proud “Memere” to Tara Leonard Hile, Thomas, Jeffrey and Christopher Leonard, Jessica Fortin, William and James Tente, Katelyn Tente Van Horn, Timothy and Christopher Dionisopoulos, Ryan and Amanda Leonard and 8 beloved great grandchildren: Hallie, Alexis, Cailee, Devon, Colin, Liam, Jameson and Willow. She was also the cherished Aunt to many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. In addition to her large family she had a favorite four-legged companion named Rosie who brought her comfort and with whom she shared lots of cuddle time.
Celine was the matriarch of her family. We all admired her kindness, compassion and strength. She always put the needs of others first and loved caring for others. She was determined, thoughtful and no-nonsense. She loved unconditionally – a notable attribute that we wish was more common in this day and age.
She was a devoted Christian and was a lifelong communicant of St. Martha’s Church.
She was an avid reader of books and the local newspaper, often clipping and saving articles she found pertinent for family or friends. She was especially known for clipping obituaries – for the record, she had many shoe boxes full of hundreds of obituaries dating back to the 1940’s.
She will be fondly remembered for her love of teddy bears and angels, for wearing fashionable, decorative sweaters, her personalized and punctual handwritten birthday and holiday cards, her “lists” and for being happiest when her family was gathered at Prudence Island. Although our hearts are heavy, we celebrate Celine’s life and find comfort that she is reunited with her husband Ray in Heaven watching over us. At the end of each day before going to sleep she would always say to us “Sweet Dreams.” We hope that she is now resting peacefully and dreaming sweet dreams.
Our family is especially grateful for the end of life medical care provided by Hope Hospice and the frequent and devoted service from her hospice team.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 11:00 AM in St. Martha’s Church, 2595 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers contributions to St. Martha’s Church in her memory would be appreciated.