Cover photo for Carolyn (Branch) Leonard Heavener's Obituary
Carolyn (Branch) Leonard Heavener Profile Photo
Carolyn (Branch) Leonard

Carolyn (Branch) Leonard Heavener

d. May 11, 2022

Oklahoma City, OK.



Carolyn Branch Leonard, born 21 Aug 1937 on the farm near Buffalo on her Daddy’s birthday, is proud to be a native Oklahoman. Her father, Ernest S. Branch, was a lifelong rancher and farmer, as was his father. Her mother, Ethel Imogene Parsons Branch, taught school, following that family's tradition. Both families were early-day settlers in Harper County near Buffalo, Oklahoma; her great grandparents coming into Oklahoma at the opening land run into the Cherokee Strip in 1893, and moving to Harper County around the turn of the century. Carolyn was born at the farm and grew up in a small house with no plumbing or electricity with her two older brothers, Bill and Curt. She married right out of high school to John C. Leonard and they had two children as well as taking two foster children and helping with others.

She graduated from Buffalo High School as Salutatorian in 1955, completed a business course at Enid Business school with honors, attended Northwestern OSU, graduating from Oklahoma City University in 1991 as outstanding Plus student in community work. After her children were grown she moved to Oklahoma City, but continued to manage the family farms and property in Oklahoma and Texas.

She is a member of Mayflower Descendants, Oklahoma number 538, General Society number 38149, Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) 809560, First Families of Twin Territories (Oklahoma), and First Families of Athens County, Ohio. Past president of Writers of the Purple Sage, Oklahoma City Writers, OK Writers Federation Inc. (OWFI), and Federally Employed Women (FEW). She is former board member of Oklahoma Genealogical Society, Edmond Genealogical, and volunteer at the Oklahoma Historical Society. She was named an honorary lifetime member of OWFI.

She became a Christian in her youth, baptized age eight at First Baptist of Buffalo, and is a member of Church of the Servant UM, OKC, where love found her a second time while leading a class on grief and recovery, and Jon Heavener was a participant. They married the next year in 1993 and now attend Crossings Community Church.

Carolyn was a prize-winning Toastmasters speaker and writer, she was an avid genealogist, and often made presentations to groups on easy ways to preserve a person’s memories for future generations and also on writing and publishing classes. She loved spending time with family and her husband of almost thirty years, Jon Heavener.

Her heart and home welcomed and nurtured many children over the years including Judi, James, Jay, and Cathy Sue, along with nephews Butch and Larry, and nieces Margie and Kathy. She also had a warm spot in her heart for her stepson, Ross.

Carolyn and Jon traveled the world visiting friends in Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, Singapore, and other countries. They joined an International Bed and Breakfast Club and entertained visitors in their home often. She is a charter member, coordinator, and past president of the 850-member Dutch Cousins of Kentucky and published a monthly Writers Reminder email. Jon and Carolyn are members of the 8‑Four‑8 Dinner Club of ten members who have met every month since 1995.

She established Sage Press in 1990, editing, designing, and publishing award-winning books by Oklahoma authors including herself. The business name changed in 2012 to Buffalo Industries, LLC.

She’s especially proud of:

*  Five books in print 2022 on (two of which were published during her extreme illness)

*  Listed in “Who’s Who of American Women” 1999 to present.

*  Former government newsletter editor, and the newsletter was awarded multiple times “Best Overall State Newsletter.”

*  Former manager of award-winning weekly newspaper, Harper County Journal.

But she never forgot her roots and always spoke proudly of her hometown of Buffalo, Oklahoma.

Carolyn left her earthly  home in OKC surrounded by her family.


She spent her last Mother’s Day with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The room filled with flowers and though she was nearing the end, she quietly dozed in her chair with a smile.


Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, William (Bill) Branch of Buffalo and Dr. John Curtis Branch of Oklahoma City; sister-in-law Neva Barnes of Ft Supply; daughter, Cathy Welch of Houston; first husband, John C. Leonard and granddaughter, Kara Lyn Nicholson.

Beloved survivors include her husband, Jon Heavener; her children Judi Leonard Mills (husband George) of Sapulpa, James Leonard of Buffalo, Jay and Cindy Colten of Edmond and Ross Heavener of Austin, TX.


Additional survivors include her grandson Jerry (Andrea) and children, Marlena and Gracie Colten; Granddaughters Jamie Colten of Edmond; Kinzi Leonard (friend Mandi) of Choctaw; Kadi Leonard Bell (husband Marshall), baby girl Kenna Layne of Pittsview, Alabama and son Ryant Bell of Bixby, OK; Dohghoung Ahn, South Korea; step-grandson Lance Mills (Sheri) and children, Maddison, Raden, Melanie (Tyler), Payton, and Paxton Morrison all of Sapulpa and Ryan Morrison of Broken Arrow; Sister-in-law Jackie Branch of OKC; Sister-in-law Ann Anderson of DeRidder, LA; Brother-in-law Jere Heavener of Denver; nieces, nephews; great-nieces, great-nephews, great-greats of all and many many dear cousins and precious friends.


A celebration of life service will be Saturday May 14, 1PM at First Christian Church, Buffalo, OK.  An opportunity to visit with family will be available immediately after the service at the church. Carolyn's burial will be a private family burial at High Point Cemetery. Officiated by Jason Shepherd.

A second Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday June 4, 11 AM at Crossings Church Pavilion Building, 14600 N Portland Ave., Oklahoma City, OK. Officiated by Lance Ward and additional eulogist, Pastor David Severe.


Under direction of Wilkinson Funeral Home of Buffalo.

The family has suggested memorials to the Buffalo Alumni Assoc. Scholarship Fund at PO  Box 325 Buffalo, OK 7383



To send flowers to the family in memory of Carolyn (Branch) Leonard Heavener, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm

First Christian Church Buffalo, OK

121 NW 2nd, Buffalo, OK 73834

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am

Pavilion Building

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