June Marie Carthel Leondar
June 9, 1926 – February 28, 2021
Member of Fort Worth MTA
June was born on June 9, 1926 to John Thomas & Lula Ruth Carthel of Lockney, Texas. As the eldest of their five children, she grew up helping her family on the farm by running tractors, picking cotton, feeding animals, gardening and caring for her younger siblings. The difficult farm life ingrained in her strength, the value of hard work and service to others but left her wanting more for her life. Fueled by a passion for music, she left the family farm to pursue her education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1948 and Master of Music Education in 1952.
After graduating from Texas Tech, June moved to Midland to begin her career. She felt very strongly about her work in the public-school setting. “It’s a field of teaching which has been neglected in Texas, so I have felt like a pioneer,” she wrote in a letter in 1955. While in Midland, she took an art class instructed by a local artist, Arnold Leondar. The two quickly became friends and then fell in love. She often said, “we were well-suited for each other”. The pair wed in a small, intimate ceremony in Taos, New Mexico the summer of 1955.
Arnold and June started a family in 1961 with the birth of their son, Brandt Samuel Leondar, and welcomed their second son, Morris John Leondar four years later. The young family eventually settled in Hurst, Texas where Arnold became the Director of the Art Department at Tarrant County Junior College (TCJC) now Tarrant County College (TCC). June later served as the piano instructor for TCJC. Throughout her life June remained engaged and highly respected in the Texas music community. She served as president of the Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA), as well as a member of the Van Cliburn Competition local Host Committee as a Judge’s Score Chairman. At the time of her death, she was Chairman of the South-Central Division of the Music Teachers National Association Competition and Chairman of the Texas Music Teachers Association Piano Performance Contest.
June received many awards and honors during her lifetime including TMTA Teacher of the Year, TCJC Humanities Division Distinguished Service Award, and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Foundation Fellow Distinguished Service Award. Most recently she was awarded the first-time TMTA Lifetime Service Award.
June loved her family dearly. Throughout the years when she wasn’t teaching, judging competition, or playing the piano, she was busy keeping up with their three grandchildren. In 1998 June and Arnold retried from their beloved departments and purchased property west of Fort Worth where they built their forever home. Here they hosted holidays, family gatherings, watched their grandchildren grow, and loved each other well into their nineties. June cherished their home together, as it was filled with wonderful memories and Arnold’s art on every wall. After his passing in 2018, she loved being surrounded by all of his incredible pieces, the Midland landscape in particular.
On the morning of February 28th of this year, with her son Morris lovingly holding her hand, June took her last breath in Weatherford, Texas. She was loved fiercely by her family and is missed every single day. It is comforting to know that her spirit lives o LuAnne n in her two brothers, John Lee and James, sister Janis, son Morris, daughters-in-law Kimberly and, grandsons Aaron and Andrew, granddaughter Marissa and her husband Brent, and two great-grandsons Kinsler and Halston.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, John Thomas and Ruth Carthel, sister Joyce Wilson, son Brandt Leondar and husband Arnold Leondar.