The playground whistle blows. Everyone freezes. And in his loudest, baddest principal voice, Mr. Payette announces recess is over and everyone lines up. But a kindergartner strolls up to him, announces he has ketchup on his nose, and the tough exterior melts away. He starts to laugh.
That was the embodiment of Leonard Payette, appearing firm and stern on the outside but a kind and gentle man on the inside with generations of students, classrooms, and teachers impacted by his passion for education.
Leonard was full of grit, resilience, tenacity, and a little onerous. He was thoughtful, had quick wit, humorous, giving, and above all generous. In 2019 while in the hospital, he offered to buy the nurses and doctors dinner nightly from his favorite Mexican or Thai restaurant so they didn’t need to eat hospital food. When his daughters were younger, he sat in the make-believe salon for hours allowing his makeup and hair to be done.
He was born in New Bedford MA, but Southern California became his home for decades. There is where the majority of his adult life was lived and where he was happiest - in the town of Solvang, the mountains of Lake Arrowhead or in his home watching The Simpsons. He is preceded in death by his best friend, wife and partner, Elaine Payette, and his parents Ernest and Cecile Payette and brother, John Payette. Carrying on his legacy are his three siblings, Gerard, Raymond and Jackie, and his two daughters, Carla (Jerome) and Emily(Daven). He is survived by four grandchildren, Aiden, Bella, Amelia, and Leo - his namesake. Little Leo would be consistent in reminding Big Leo to watch his sugar.
It has been 18 years since he has been with you Mom, but he is coming to you. And hopefully, you two go on a heavenly date and eat Macho Nachos from the highest-rated YELP Mexican restaurant in heaven.
Arrangements: Cullen Funeral Home, Raymore, Missouri 816.322.5278
Celebration of Life service is pending at this time.