Cover photo for Leila Frances Peters's Obituary
Leila Frances Peters Profile Photo
1939 Leila 2024

Leila Frances Peters

September 8, 1939 — May 3, 2024

Lebanon, Indiana

For 84 years, Leila Peters made Indiana her home, first in Indianapolis, and for the past 53 years, on Wild Winds Farm in Lebanon IN. Born in Louisville KY on September 8, 1939, Leila was the youngest of four children born to Klaas and Tena (Wiebe) Peters of Saskatchewan Canada. The family moved to the US for father Klaas to attend Harvard School of Divinity and then to minister to his own congregation. With her siblings Donovan, Dorothy and Klaas already moved out on their own, Leila lived with her Papa and Mama in a house at 2248 Illinois Street in downtown Indianapolis, where papier-mache horses had to satisfy her dream of having her own horses until she was older.

Following high school, Leila went on to earn her BA (1961) and MA (1966) from Butler University, writing a Master’s thesis entitled “Shakespeare’s Sonnets: An Evaluation of Criticism Since 1945” under the guidance of her beloved teacher, Allegra Stewart. At 19, at a Butler sorority gathering, she met her first love Suzie Ritter, with whom she started Wild Winds Arabian Horse Farm. Both teachers, Leila and Suzie shared a love of horses, nature, white water rafting and travel and shared 35 years together until Suzie’s death in 1993. Over the years, she and Suzie raised 20 horses and enjoyed the company of many wonderful dogs and cats. Nature, flowers, trees, water, birds, and their beloved animals were at the center of Leila and Suzie’s life on Wild Winds Farm.

Following Suzie’s death, friends and family became much more central to Leila’s life. She loved her teacher pals from 39 years of teaching, 35 years of which she taught 6th grade at Lincoln Middle School. She loved her “Beans Group” friends who met for lunch (bean soup & cornbread) every week for decades. She loved her St Francis In-The-Fields friends, with whom she shared Bible study and early Sunday worship, smiling broadly as she sang Easter hymns with Father Davies. She loved her Montana mountain friends, with whom she could hike and ride and breathe with kindred spirits in the fresh mountain air at her cabin in the Crazy Mountains. She loved her “Esther’s Village” friends who gathered for good times and tough times, outdoing one another in wonderful costumes for Oscar Parties and Halloween. (Among other costumes, Leila made an exceptionally good “Mr. Frederickson” from Up!) She loved her neighbors, where being good stewards of the land and animals was important to all. She loved her IN & OH & WI & WA & MN & NM & CO & AZ & MT& FL friends, where “Lovely Leila” could be seen dancing with the children and enjoying meals with her friends and in-law siblings. And most recently, she loved her care team composed of friends who underwent training specifically for her care, along with her Hospice team members who recognized her dazzling smile and beautiful spirit.

As a child, Leila spent time with her beloved sister Dorothy and her 5 children. As time has passed, relationships with those nieces and nephews have blossomed into friendships that filled Leila’s heart. Steve, Allan, Laurie, Wendy, Jerry, Tina, David, Kay, Diane, Dave, Mark, Ann, Laird & Rick enriched her life. And then there were great, great-great, and great-great-great nieces and nephews to love! She cherished Christmas and Thanksgiving with her Indiana family. She loved visits to FL and CA to spend time with her out-of-state family. Her laugh was contagious when she caught up with nieces and nephews on the phone, wherever they were!

Leila was a phenomenally creative 6th grade teacher for 39 years. She was an early adopter of strategies for teaching children with dyslexia how to read. She helped her students put on class plays (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory), converted her classroom into a rainforest, and encouraged her students to get their hands dirty as they learned to build and stock a pond or create a mini volcano!

Leila truly was a Renaissance Woman. She loved classical music and tinkering on the piano. She loved dancing to Abba. She loved to paint and painted beautifully! She loved her garden flowers: xenias and tulips and daffodils and lilacs and bleeding hearts and sunflowers. She loved her mountain wildflowers: Indian paintbrush and sticky geraniums and blue bells. She loved to swing a hammer and build: a gazebo at the lake, a pond in the backyard, stalls and hay-mow in the barn, an extra room on the garage, and even the master bedroom! She loved to write. She wrote short pieces: “The Perfect Gift,” “Bears in Our Lives,” “Morning of the Fawn,” “Perils of a Poor-Fitting Saddle” (published in Western Horseman). She wrote her book, ten years in the making and now in the archives of the Indiana Historical Society: In Spite of Everything…for the Woman She Loved.

And she found a second love, later in life, whom she married on June 26, 2014. Her wife Ruth Landau, a veterinarian, adored her and cherished their beautiful time together. Leila was a BEST friend and help mate, always ready to listen and laugh and encourage, never judging.

In short, Leila LOVED. Her warm soulful hugs, dazzling smile, spontaneous laughter and unwavering kindness have impacted all who were fortunate enough to cross her path. She will be truly and deeply missed and loved and fondly remembered by all whose lives she touched.

Funeral services for Leila will be held Thursday, May 16, 2024, at 11:00am at St. Francis In-the-Fields Episcopal Church, 1525 Mulberry St, Zionsville, IN 46077. Visitation will be held prior to services from 9:00am – 11:00am at the church, with a repast to follow after the services. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Leila's memory to the Humane Society for Boone County (HSforBC.org) or to Comfort Finders, Inc (comfort-finders.org) serving adults with CF in Indiana.

Friends and family may also view Leila's memorial service at the following link, which will broadcast the services at 11:00am on May, 16, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/live/fskHOWUriJA?si=uF1ydksGLV5_m4qa

Indiana Funeral Care and Crematory is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leila Frances Peters, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, May 16, 2024

9:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church

1525 Mulberry St, Zionsville, IN 46077

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 16, 2024

11:00am - 12:15 pm (Eastern time)

St Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church

1525 Mulberry St, Zionsville, IN 46077

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Repass

Thursday, May 16, 2024

12:15 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

St Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church

1525 Mulberry St, Zionsville, IN 46077

Gathering of friends and family for a meal in celebration of Leila's life.

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