Former Kauffman House Museum guide Cleta Leinbach dies
April 28, 2011
Cleta Leinbach died Feb. 3, 2011, at Hospice Care of Boulder and Broomfield counties from cancer. She was born in the family farmhouse near Milwaukee, Pa., on Nov. 6, 1931, to John Klipple and Laura Courtright Klipple. She spent most of her childhood helping the family on the produce farm, as a member of several high school academic societies and its basketball team.
Cleta began her education in a one-room school, where she skipped second grade. She graduated from Newton-Ransom High School in 1948 and enrolled in the art education curriculum at the Kutztown Pennsylvania State University. She graduated with honors in 1952. In the fall, she began her teaching career as an elementary/junior high art teacher in the Lansdale, Pa., school district.
On Dec. 27, 1952, she married Richard B. Leinbach of Reading, Pa. He was a fellow classmate in the art education program at Kutztown. Cleta and Dick raised three daughters, Karen, Susan and Amy. The Leinbachs moved from Lansdale to Quakertown, Pa., where Dick was the junior/senior high school art teacher. Cleta became the district’s elementary art teacher, visiting the 13 one-room schools once a month, and eventually, two and three times a month.
Over the course of the following years, Cleta and Dick spent two academic semesters in Cambridge, Mass., a six week workshop at the University of Manitoba, three summers in Stone Harbor, N.J., and at several one-week workshops at the Arrowmont School of Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn. At one of these workshops, Cleta learned how to dye yarn using natural materials. This achievement produced a beautiful multi-colored knitted sweater.
While the family was living in State College, Pa., Cleta completed her studies toward her master’s degree. One of the last family moves was to Ann Arbor, Mich. There, Cleta’s love of sewing, weaving or knitting led her to eventually become the assistant manager of a retail fabric store for almost 20 years. When she moved to Grand Lake she wove or braided area rugs for her new home. Eventually she specialized in the design and creation of quilts, some for the home, the family, or as items for sale in the fall shows. She was also known as an excellent cook and baker of fruit pies.
Her warmth and friendliness made her a welcome member on several community and church committees. Cleta and Dick also served as guides at the Kauffman House Museum for many years. Cleta volunteered to nurse the Museum’s historic pink geraniums in the dining room during the months the house was open and during the winter months when they graced one of her windows at home.
There will be a memorial service for Cleta at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 18, at Trinity Church of the Pines in Grand Lake. Contributions in Cleta’s memory may be sent to HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield counties, 1855 Plaza Drive, Louisville, CO 80027, the Colon Cancer Alliance in Washington D.C., or the American Cancer Society.