Losing an integral community figure often has an unforgettable impact. Leanne Avery left an incredible legacy through her lifelong dedication to education, art, entrepreneurship and most importantly her family – one which will always remain with those fortunate enough to know her well. On November 4, 2019 at age 91 she passed away leaving us all feeling her loss deeply.
Entrepreneurial Ventures that Shaped a Community
Leanne Avery’s roots were deeply embedded in the Binghamton community, where she co-owned several businesses that became local landmarks. These businesses—Red Sleigh Antiques, 1776 House Antiques, and 1776 House Framing—were not just entrepreneurial ventures for her; they were labor-of-love projects that showcased her love for aesthetics, culture, and local history. One could say that these shops were a physical embodiment of Leanne’s multifaceted persona, a place where her appreciation for the finer things in life met the hard-nosed, business-savvy mindset that was just as integral to her identity.
The Educator Who Crafted Futures
Yet, to speak only of Leanne’s entrepreneurship would be an incomplete narrative. Before she became a businesswoman, Leanne had already made substantial contributions to society as an educator in the Chenango Valley School District, teaching elementary art to students who would remember her as more than just a teacher. She was a mentor who imbued her classroom with a love for artistic expression. This commitment to education wasn’t a fleeting endeavor; it was a lifelong passion that led her to pursue graduate studies in art education at Penn State University, following her graduation from Colby College. Leanne wasn’t just teaching art; she was crafting the next generation of artists and creative thinkers, leaving an imprint on the educational landscape that surpassed the boundaries of her classroom.
A Matriarch of Enduring Values
Leanne Avery’s dedication to family was no less significant. The mother of two children, she instilled in them the values that she held dear—love, commitment, and the ceaseless pursuit of excellence. The bonds of family were an unbreakable cornerstone of her life, and her children, David Burkhart and the late Margaret Burkhart, absorbed these principles to become accomplished individuals in their own right. Leanne’s spirit lives on not just through her surviving son, David, but also through her daughter-in-law, who fittingly shares her name, Leanne Avery.
Resilience in the Face of Loss
Her life was also punctuated by personal losses that would have shattered a lesser person. Predeceased by her husband, Robert A. Regni, her cherished daughter, Margaret, her sister Roz, and her parents, Leanne exhibited extraordinary resilience and grace. Each loss only fortified her determination to make the most out of the time she had, adding layers of depth to her character that she imparted on her remaining family and friends.
A Lasting Legacy
The legacy of Leanne Avery continues to reverberate in multiple spheres of the Binghamton community and beyond. Those who walked into her antique stores felt an immediate connection to the past, an homage to a bygone era that Leanne held in high regard. Her former art students, now adults, carry forward her teachings in their own expressions and endeavors. And, in the endearing love and unity exhibited by her family, one can see the most authentic manifestation of Leanne’s lifelong devotion to fostering human connections.
As we commemorate Leanne Avery, we are starkly reminded that the true measure of a life is not just in the years lived, but in the lives touched. She was a beacon of love, creativity, and indomitable spirit whose influence will continue to uplift others for generations to come. While her physical presence is sorely missed, her legacy remains an everlasting part of the community fabric. And for that, Leanne Avery, your life’s work stands as a tribute to the remarkable person you were—rest in peace, knowing your legacy is eternal.