Thursday, 19 January 2023 14:07

Ellen Gilbert Leonard


Dear Ellen, how we will miss you, your warm beautiful smile, your incredible grace. Let me count the ways: musician, teacher, mentor, performer, collaborator, dancer, community organizer, leader, adventurer, dreamer, mother, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend.

On November 29, 2022, Ellen Leonard 61, passed peacefully in her East Montpelier, VT home, held by her family and friends in love and song.

She was born in 1961 to Webb Leonard and Betty McGee in Belleville, NJ. The youngest of four children, she attended elementary and middle school in Saratoga Springs, and the Vershire School in Vermont. She graduated from Skidmore College. 

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, Ellen taught music, singing, and almost any instrument, in Central Vermont schools. Ellen also taught private music lessons and MusicTogether to families with children ages infants to 5 years.

In 1999 Ellen opened the AllTogetherNow! Preschool, now a five-star school. For over 30 years, AllTogetherNow! was a place of celebration and creative learning that planted the seeds of song and spirit in generations of Central Vermont children. 

Ellen always found a way to break free. There was a horse, then a motorcycle. When she turned 50, she traveled alone around Europe on a motorcycle and for the past 10 years, she has kept a sailboat moored ready to go on Lake Champlain. In 2016 she travelled to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to participate in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Guided by her dreams, she worked for many decades with North of Eden Archetypal Dreamwork, co-facilitating workshops in this country and abroad.

She is survived by her children: Aaron Jones and partner Rachel Houseman, Santa Fe NM; Sophia LaPaglia and fiancé Andy Cofino, Los Angeles, CA; Aliza LaPaglia; her sister Dr. Randi Leonard Holmes and brother-in-law Dr. Doug Holmes, Raleigh, NC; sister Leigh Leonard Stallings, Saratoga Springs; brother Mark Leonard and sister-in-law Ginger Leonard, Princeton, NJ; her stepsisters, Heather Lund and Holly Ingersoll, St. Paul, MN, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles across the country, and her beloved dog Lily.

She was predeceased by her birth parents, as well as her stepmother, Joan Leonard and stepfather, retired Skidmore professor, Dr. Philip West. She was also predeceased by her brother Justin. 

Relatives and friends gathered to remember Ellen on December 2 in East Calais, VT. She was laid to rest in the Robinson Cemetery. 

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