Barbara was born to the late Robert C. Elam and Louella Martin Elam on December 11, 1950 in Boston Massachusetts. She was Baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Roxbury. Barbara was educated in Boston Public Schools graduating from Dorchester High in 1968. She attended Boston State College. She was a community activist championing civil rights as a member of the Boston Chapter of the NAACP and the Roxbury Federation of Neighborhood Centers.
After moving to Auburn, NY in the early eighties with her daughter Alyssa, Barbara married the love of her life, Les McLeod on September 15, 1984 and built a life as a devoted wife, and stepmother to his 3 children. She became entrenched in the Auburn Community, earning a Degree in Humanities and Social Science from Cayuga Community College and working as coordinator of the Auburn Hospitality Center from 1987-1995. Enthusiastically giving of her time, she served on the board of directors for Sexual Assault Victims Advocate Resource (SAVAR) Center, member of Auburn Chapter of the NAACP, Cayuga Temple #54 Daughters of the IBPOE and volunteering at Booker T. Washington Community Center. She was also an active member and trustee of the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Memorial Church and truly loved her church family. She moved to Atlanta, GA in 1995, becoming a member of and steward at Emanuel AME Zion Church in Stone Mountain and later a charter member and steward at the New Vision AME Zion Church in Suwanee. While in Georgia, she worked as a Client Service Supervisor at Pharmacy Advantage System and finally retired from her position as Program Assistant for Georgia Regional Hospital-Atlanta in 2017.
Retirement gave Barbara more time to devote to her passion for Genealogy which she had been cultivating for more than 30 years. Much of her free time was spent tracing and studying the descents of people and families and collecting and sharing photos of everybody she knew. A member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Association (AAHGS), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), she was an expert researcher, helping friends and family members discover their family history. If Barbara couldn’t find it, it didn’t exist! Her work on Ancestry.com and other research boasts the creation of 38 personal family trees and contributions to hundreds of others, connecting thousands of people all over the world.
Known for having a giving heart Barbara took joy in caring for others, especially children. She was a Godmother, Nana and Auntie to many; often doling out tough but loving advice and admonishment when it was needed. She loved to travel with family and friends and shopping, taking full heed to her life’s motto of “Live Life to the Fullest”.
Barbara is survived by her husband Leslie C. McLeod, daughters Alyssa (Michael) Whitfield and Laronda Agee-Atkins, Stepchildren Angela Rackley, Tara McLeod, and Leslie F. McLeod; Special adopted daughter Pamela (David) Schulterbrandt; Godchildren Jamar (Pamela) McLeod, Julius (Kelley) Peralta, Ranaja Baxter, Michael (Tammy) Carle; Three beloved sisters, Jennie Johnson, Patricia (Charles) Wilson, Denise (Tom) Ghan, and Sister-friend Carleen Bond-Adams; Favorite niece Ramona Obas, nephew Kenneth Schofield; Aunt Beatrice Owens; Grandchildren Michael, Malcolm, Jamison and Lauryn Whitfield; Terrance (Vivian) McLeod,Tai-Symone (Tevon) Irwin, Toni and Tavion Rackley; Tyler McLeod; Jovaughn, Zanae, and Olevia McLeod; Adrianna, Quinazyzha, Ca’Meyle, Lazariyon Agee-Atkins; Queania McIntyre, Levaughn McIntyre; Closest friends Jackie Stanfield, Mary Willcox, Romanda Mclendon, Cynthia Richardson and Rasheeda Perez; Brother and Sister-in-laws; a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends, all very dear to her.
She was preceded in death by her nephew Charles Carle.
Barbara will be greatly missed by her family, her dear friends and all those she encountered on her life’s journey.
Home Going celebrations to be held in Georgia on Tuesday, December 28th,11:00am at Advantage Funeral Home, 500 Harbins Rd, Lilburn GA and in New York on Monday January 3rd at 11:00am at Brew Funeral Home, 48 South Street, Auburn NY.
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