Ella Jo Leonard was born on November 7, 2003, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, IA. She was welcomed home by her parents, David and Nikki (Mains) Leonard. Five and a half years later, she was joined by a sister, Ava.
Ella started out trying all kinds of sports but found her passion in dancing. She joined the local dance studios and loved being a part of the team. She truly loved being surrounded by people and everything dance had to offer, especially competitions. Her goal was to make the Winterset Dance Team and she did just that in her sophomore year and she was so proud of herself. While on the team, she met two of her best friends, Kayla and Lanee. They were known as the “triple threats” and were inseparable. The following year they became the “fab five” with Kacie and Emma joining the team, who were also best friends of Ella’s. They were a great team and fun to watch.
While on the team in 2020 and 2021 at Regionals they were small varsity Champions placing first in Pom, Hip Hop, Novelty and Military. Also winning the Judge’s Choice award for the Operation Novelty routine and the Lady bug’s Novelty Routine. They placed second team overall in 2020 and first team overall in 2021. The team then traveled to Nationals in Texas where they were small varsity champion, first place in all their dances and the team was ranked second in the Nation. Ella was very proud of this accomplishment.
After graduation from Winterset High School in 2022, Ella enrolled in the Nursing Program at Southwestern Community College in Creston. At this time, she decided she wanted to continue dancing and become a Dazzler on the Southwestern Community College Dance Team. Ella enjoyed the season and the new friends she made on the team and in college. The team ended their season fourth in the Nation in Pom and fifth in the Nation in Hip Hop and Jazz at Nationals in Florida. Ella made the President’s Honor list for the spring semester.
Ella loved hanging out with her sister, Ava. They enjoyed shopping, cruising around, hitting up Starbucks and making TikTok’s together (which rarely were posted). She recently made Ava start watching Real Housewives of New Jersey and was so frustrated when Ava couldn’t follow along, so Ella got out her notebook and made a “family tree” so she could understand who was who.
She was loving life and enjoying every moment of it. She loved going to the gym and Nutrition shop daily. Ella met Maddie through the dance team at college and their dream after graduating nursing school was to become travel nurses.
Ella worked for her cousin, Ryann, at RDA in Mount Ayr, IA. She loved working with the kids and cleaning their routines. The last two summers she worked at the shop with her dad, but her favorite part of the job was spending time with “her dog”, Waylon. They loved to take selfies, go on parts runs, get the mail and go to the bank together. She was so excited on Friday when he got his first pup cup from Scooters.
Ella left this life on July 23, 2023. She gave the gift of life through organ donation. Left to honor her memory are her parents, David and Nikki, sister, Ava, grandparents, Linden and Cindy Leonard and Mary Mains, aunts, uncles and cousins, Darren, Kisha, Kyler, Ryann (Colton Gordon) Martin, Jared and Trisha Mains, Chris, Jessi, Isaac (Jaycee Knight) and Jace Grose, Cody, Kristen and Olivia Parrish, many extended aunts, uncles and cousins along with coaches and friends.
Welcoming her to heaven were her grandpa, Grover Mains, great grandparents, Ronald and Patty McDowell, Donovan and Rose Mary Leonard, Weldon and Dorothy Mains and Howard and Mabel Wood.
Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.
Services were at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at the New Bridge Church in Winterset, IA.
Officiating will be Rev. Al Rusk.
Special songs were “Forever Young”, “Never Not Remember You” and “When I Get Where I’m Going.
Honorary pallbearers were Ava Leonard, Isaac Grose, Jace Grose, Kyler Martin, Ryann Martin, Olivia Parrish, Kayla Barnes, Lanee Hall, Lindee Hall, Emma Dorrell, Madalynn Stewart, Cassidy Nelson, Kacie Feldmann, Lyon Raegan, Elaina Mick and Jillian Simon.
Memorials in her name to be decided by the family.