Mildred A. Leathers, 86, of Gainesville, GA, formerly of Vernon, IN, passed away on August 26, 2019.
She was born in 1933 in Red Boiling Springs, TN. Her family moved to Oregon's Willamette Valley where she married and began raising her family. She eventually followed her parents back to the Midwest and Jennings County, IN before retiring in the Gainesville,GA, area.
From learning to sew at the age 3, to stitching a nine-patch block for her grandmother's quilt at age 4, to sewing for spending money in high school, to custom sewing and a drapery business, needlework was Millie's passion.
Antiques also played a major role when, in 1974, she and her husband Lewis opened The Butternut Tree Antique Shop in Vernon, IN. This later became Hoosier Patchwork when she came to concentrate on textiles, quilts and quilting classes. She became a National Quilt Association certified teacher and judge, teaching at her shop as well as IUPUC, and traveling across the country teaching, lecturing and judging for quilt shows and quilting groups. She wrote five books on quilting, doll and bear making, and preservation. Millie was also an original member of Vernon's local NQA chapter, Friendly Persuasion Quilters, and was active in the Vernon Shopkeepers, the Clionian Club and Our Heritage. She served as secretary for both the Jennings County Bicentennial Committee and the Vernon Preservation Committee, the latter putting Vernon on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Millie founded and was the curator for the Vernon Quilt Show, '77-'83, and the much larger Indiana Quilting Party quilt show held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, '86-'89. When Columbus, IN, celebrated the 500th anniversary of America's discovery in 1992, Millie was the coordinator and made the theme quilt for the America, The Discovery Continues quilt show.
The Leathers retired to Gainesville, GA, and before long, Millie opened Grandmother's Flower Garden, an antique and textile shop in Flowery Branch, GA. While there, she also worked with the "Save the Depot" group.
Millie was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Lewis Leathers, and her grandson, Justin Leathers. She is survived by her three children, Deborah Rogers (Mike), Jerry Leathers (Debbie), Boca Raton, FL, and Jack Leathers (Beth), Flowery Branch, GA; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Family and friends will celebrate her life at Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA on Friday, August 30, at 4:00 p.m. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association.
Posted: Sunday, September 1, 2019
Article comment by:
Mary Ann and Roger Pardieck
Mrs. Leathers was an accomplished and interesting woman who, when she became involved in any sort of project, “made everything better” than it would have been without her. Her talents for quilting, gardening, and, most especially, her knowledge of antique and heritage fabrics were known across the United States. Rest In Peace, Millie Leathers. May your family find comfort in your life well lived.