June 3, 1947 - February 12, 2020 Gill Leaman suffered a ruptured aneurysm and subsequent traumatic brain injury during a vacation in Florida. She passed comfortably under hospice care Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. Gill was 72, brought light into the lives of all who knew her and will be sorely missed. Saundra Gill Russell Leaman was born and raised in Concord, and was the oldest child of Robert L. and Ereleen Russell, both deceased. She is survived by her husband, Stephen Leaman (Norfolk, Va.); sister, Becca; and brother, Robbie. Gill graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. degree in Education. She taught elementary school in Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio. Her creativity and animated demeanor brought children's books to life. Gill and Stephen were married for 45 years. Their careers afforded them the opportunity to live in eight U.S. cities and the U.K. Gill loved them all for their excitement, culture and diversity. She said "yes" to every road trip. Gill never met a stranger. She reached out to everyone to know them better and to enrich their lives. Her appetite to help was insatiable. She became a Court Appointed Special Assistant (CASA) in juvenile courts in several states. Her common sense and energy left no stone unturned to get the necessary resources to help the children. She helped qualify candidate families for Habitat for Humanity. She coordinated teams of volunteers for gift distribution for the Salvation Army Toys for Tots campaign. Needy individuals were invited to reside in Gill's spare bedroom, no charge. Gill never met a stranger. Perhaps the most astonishing attribute of all was Gill's ability to do everything through unimaginable pain. She suffered with severe rheumatoid arthritis for 55 years and never a complaint. Both of her knees were replaced twice. Her medication poisoned her body with powerful side effects. Joints were frozen, bones were broken, and life was never fair for her, and yet if there was an obstacle, Gill removed it. Miss Gill, Miss Gill, we will surely miss you. A celebration of her life will be held in Concord at a future date.
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