Obituary: Sally D. Leabhart

Longtime Claremonter, Pilates instructor, Francophile

Sally D. Leabhart, longtime Claremont resident, died January 10 from pancreatic cancer after five months in hospice. She was cared for by hospice and family members.

Ms. Leabhart, who earned a B.A. from Rutgers, a M.A. from University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. from USC, adored French language and literature, cooking and baking, visual arts, and dance.

She taught Pilates (her own unique take, blended with Feldenkrais technique) in her home studio, and often taught as an adjunct professor at Pomona and Scripps colleges.

Former students from Canada, France, Spain, South Africa, Greece, Japan, and the UK remembered her fondly. One wrote, “She was forever learning! She did countless weeks and months of studying for self-growth certification and in the process discovered all kinds of wonderful ways that the body could be coaxed into doing what might have seemed impossible. As her student in Pilates, I appreciated her patience and expertise and the subtlety of her fine-tuned observations and corrections.” Another observed, “Conversations with Sally were always subtle and held the promise of a real exchange in everyday life. With ease, her smiling, determined presence made the world around her a better place.” One more remembered, “Her friendship, support and guidance meant a lot to me and were invaluable. I admired her greatly for her insight and courage and for the zestful, grounded spirit she brought to everything she did. I will continue to think of her with infinite gratitude and with love for the rest of my life.”

Miraculously, she found time and energy to assist her husband of 51 years, Tom, becoming an indispensable co-creator in his artistic and scholarly work.

Sally is survived by Tom, and by her sister, Lynn Garfield.

“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.”

— Exodus 23:30

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to Uncommon Good at


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