Leanore Marie (Arbogast) Vankirk, 83, of Middleburg, died peacefully surrounded by her loving family on April 11, 2017. The final moments of her life were a testament to the love and grace that she shared with her family and every person whose life she touched. Her selflessness and dedication to helping others and making this world kinder were grounded in her servant heart and unwavering faith.
Leanore was born Jan. 18, 1934, in Kreamer,and was married to Robert Vankirk for 25 years. She was a lifelong Snyder County resident and was the daughter of the late Donald M. Erway and Audra G. Arbogast. She was preceded in death by her first husband of 27 years, John W. Erdley Sr., daughter, Kathy Lynn Brouse, sisters, Linda Manbeck, Marie L. Van Horn Osgood and Sara Van Horn Osgood, brothers, Nevin Van Horn, Marlin Van Horn and Charles Van Horn, granddaughter, Shannon Erdley and great-granddaughter, Mackenzie Showers. She is survived by her son, John W. Erdley, daughter, Julia Reich, stepson's Todd and Robert Vankirk, step-daughter Tammy June, 10 grandchildren; Shane J. Erdley, Shiloh D. Erdley-Kass, Joel L. Erdley, Erin D. Erdley, Sara C. Robinson, Tish A. Showers, Talia L. Beatty, Kali M. Yetter, Trevin J. Reich and Jade C. Miller and 11 great-grandchildren.
Leanore's passion for working was deeply engrained and was expressed not only through the various jobs that she held throughout her life but through her civic engagement within her community and her ministry. Whether as a teacher's aide, owner and cook of Across the Track, or a receptionist at Penn Lutheran Village and the Community Action Agency, she was engaged in work that involved compassion and service to others.
Leanore's legacy is one that will not be forgotten by those who knew and loved her. Her proud and very well known description of herself as the "Matriarch" of her family is no exaggeration and was wholeheartedly her life's mission. The best way to describe Leanore is to recognize that she symbolized the true meaning of the word, mother, which means to "give us the root mater". If one could imagine a woman who had the ability to create the deepest roots and most interconnected branches among children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family, friend, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers, it would be Leanore.
Her journey throughout life has been filled with unforgettable moments. Some of her most fond memories and joys in life included holidays with families, cooking and baking, dancing and her annual family get together for the Middleburg Parade. Her favorite trips included adventures to New York City, Disney, Lake Norman and the Bahamas. Mostly, she loved visiting with family and her 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Everyone she spoke to, no matter where she went or who they were, knew that her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were the hallmarks of her life. She instilled in all those around her the will to achieve dreams despite adversity. As a cancer survivor, Leanore paved the way to eradicate future suffering by discovering a genetic mutation that afflicts her family. Her persistence and fortitude to enter the arena with every challenge she faced will not be forgotten.
Today and always, we will celebrate her life. The ripple effect of love and support that she created will be felt for generations to come.
Family and friends are welcome to a celebration of Leanore's life at the First United Church of Christ of Middleburg, 8671 Route 522, Middleburg, on Monday, April 17. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. service and a final dance. A luncheon will be served at the church at noon.
A private burial for family members will be in the Glendale Cemetery before the service. Please consider honoring her wishes and wear bright colors to celebrate her life.
Those interested in making a contribution, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society and the First United Church of Christ of Middleburg.
Arrangements are by the Hummel Funeral Home, 574 Hill St., Middleburg.
Published on April 13, 2017