Kirsten M. Leetch Pepperney 1973-2021

POWELL — Kirsten Marie Leetch Pepperney, 47, passed away peacefully in her home, Friday evening, Feb. 19, 2021, surrounded by her loving family, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Kirsten was born Sept. 12, 1973, in Youngstown, the daughter of David and Karen Freeze Leetch.

She married the love of her life, Jeff Pepperney, July 18, 1998, and together, they raised two beautiful sons, Luke and Mark.

Kirsten was a wonderful and beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She lived her life full of energy and optimism, and kindness and compassion, and she made a positive impact on every person she ever met.

Kirsten attended St. Dominic Grade School and graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School in 1991. In 1996, she graduated from The University of Toledo with her bachelor’s degree in education. Kirsten began her professional career as an 11th-grade English teacher at Trinity Catholic High School in Cleveland. She then became a pharmaceutical sales representative, first with Parke-Davis, and then with Pfizer. Ever the gifted educator, she also used to grade standardized tests.

Kirsten ultimately left her professional career to fulfill her greatest calling and her proudest accomplishment, which was becoming a mother and raising her two amazing sons with her husband.

Throughout her life, Kirsten loved. She loved her family; she loved her friends; she loved her dog; she loved to take long walks; she loved to chat (a lot); and, she loved to travel. Her travels took her many places, and some of her favorite trips were to the Florida Keys, Mexico and Iceland.

She was also consistently interested in keeping in touch and catching up. She was never too busy for anyone in her life and anyone who crossed her path. She was always more interested in hearing how her friends were doing and finding out what was new, whether it be with their personal lives or with their latest cute shoe purchase, than ever speaking about herself. She wanted to be involved, to help and to laugh with her friends and family.

Kirsten did not let living a few hours away stop her from knowing every single thing that was happening in the lives of the females in her life, as she would call her mom, sister and girlfriends every day during her daily walks. If someone did not pick up the phone, she did not let that stop her either, as she would simply keep calling until they answered. She kept everyone in contact, and she brought so many smiles and so much joy.

Kirsten was also immensely lovable, and people were automatically drawn to her. She garnered many loving nicknames along her way, such as “Kirst,” “Aunt Kirchoo,” “Stein” and “Witz,” all which made her smile.

She had, and steadfastly maintained, many friendships, from her high school friends, to college friends, to work friends, to friends from every neighborhood in which she ever lived. She was famous among all who knew her for her beautiful creativity, which was reflected in everything she touched. Her Halloween costumes and “white elephant” gifts went unmatched, and her cooking and baking skills were incredible. Her energy, combined with that creativity, allowed Kirsten to quickly become an expert at everything she tried.

Above all else, the most special, important times to Kirsten were the times she spent with her wonderful husband and sons, from cheering the boys on during their baseball and soccer games and golf matches, to simply all being together as a family. She loved to play games, especially euchre, with them, and they all loved watching (and playing) “Jeopardy!” with each other.

She especially loved when they all would travel to Youngstown to visit Grandma and Bubba Pepperney and Grammy and Papa Leetch (and every single other family member or friend with whom Kirsten could possibly work in a visit). Inevitably, Jeff and the boys knew they would have to account for at least one (or more) pit stops each way for Kirsten, as she could never make it a solid three-hour car ride.

Also, even throughout everything she had been through with her illness, she never stopped mothering. At her sons’ current ages of 16 and 19 years old, she would still continuously “remind” them to “brush your teeth!” There are countless of these sweet little “mom moments” that will be so greatly missed, but are forever etched in our hearts and will always be remembered with smiles and warmth and love.

Kirsten leaves to cherish her memory her loving husband of 22 years, Jeff Pepperney, and their two wonderful sons, Luke, 19, and Mark, 16, all of Powell; her paternal grandfather, Albert “Jack” Leetch of New Middletown; her maternal grandfather, Robert “Bob” Freeze of Boardman; her parents, David and Karen Leetch of Canfield; her sister, Mary Pat (Bo) Pelini of Canfield; her brother, Ryan Leetch (Travis Larchuk) of Brooklyn, N.Y.; her and father-in-law and mother-in-law, Jim and Jeanne Pepperney of Canfield; her in-laws, Jimmy (Christy) Pepperney of Poland and Jennifer (John) Matyasovsky of New Wilmington, Pa.; her nieces and nephews, whom she adored, Patrick, Kate and Caralyn Pelini, Lauren, A.J. and Jack Pepperney, and Mary and Will Matyasovsky; her beloved pup, Wrigley; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, other family members and friends.

Kirsten will be forever missed and remembered as she was the light, the joy and the inspiration to all who knew her.

The family would like to thank the dedicated doctors, nurses and support staff at The Ohio State James Cancer Center, The Martha Morehouse and Ohio Health Hospice for their loving care and support. The family will be forever grateful to the kindness you showed Kirsten during her illness.

Memorial contributions may be made in Kirsten’s memory to Golden Endings Golden Retriever Rescue at www.goldenendingsrescue.com or to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at pancan.org.

Professional arrangements were handled by the Rutherford Funeral Home at Powell and private family services were held in Kirsten’s memory. Condolences may be sent at www.RutherfordFuneralHome.com.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen”

(special notice)