Paulina Leonard

Paula L. Leonard

Tuesday, November 22nd, 1932 - Monday, April 27th, 2020
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Paulina “Paula” Lucile (Davidson) Leonard, 87, of Lohmaier Lane, Lake Katrine, NY, a retired longtime Town of Ulster Justice, died peacefully at home on Monday, April 27, 2020.

She was born in Glens Falls, NY on November 22, 1932, a daughter of the late Walter G. and Lucile S. (Clements) Davidson.

In her late teens, she served as an aircraft spotter, and later as a brownie and girl scout leader, a little league contributor and assistant and served several years as an election inspector. Judge Leonard was devoted to her family and public service.

Paula proudly served as Town of Ulster Justice from January 1978 until her retirement in December 2005. During her 28 years of honorable service, she officiated approximately 1,400 weddings at various sites requested by the individual couples.

Justice Leonard was elected president of the NYS Magistrates Association in 1995. She is only the second woman to hold that position since the associations beginning in 1909. She was honored to hold the office of presidency not only for herself, but for the people of her jurisdiction, the Town of Ulster, and Ulster County. She is the first and only justice from our county to be so honored. Prior to her magistrate’s presidency she served as a director, treasurer and vice-president at the state level.

She also was past president of the Ulster County Magistrates Association, twice, and has the distinction of being the first woman to lead that organization.

Other recognitions and achievements include:

Recipient of “Magistrate of the Year” in 1990, the highest award bestowed upon a justice in the state by the NYS Magistrates Association.

Certificate of Recognition as a promoter/ judicial advisor to the first Ulster County Youth Court held at the Town of Ulster Court.

Three-time recipient of the “Pride of Ulster County" Award presented by the Ulster County Legislature.

Received an inscribed gavel presented by the Ulster Police PBA honoring her as an exceptional jurist.

Presented with a plaque by the Town of Ulster Town Board for her 28 years of service and commitment to the Town as justice.

The first non-lawyer judge to be appointed by the Chief Judge of NYS to represent the state and attend in-resident and home study courses for a year at the national judicial college in Reno, Nevada along with Jurists from each of the different states throughout the country.

Appointed by the Deputy Chief Judge of NYS to the town and village justice curriculum development committee that oversees the training matter for judges.

Designated by the Ulster County Legislature to the Stop DWI Task Force.

Designated by the Ulster County Legislature to the criminal justice task force.

Appointed by the Ulster County Legislature as judicial representative to the Alternative to Incarceration board.

Appointed police commissioner by the town of ulster town board.

Throughout her lifetime she has been active in a wide range of civic and community projects that included serving as a board member and treasurer of the YWCA, former board of directors of Ulster County ARC and The Children's Annex, and board member for Kingston Community Radio.

Her memberships included the Parent-Teachers Organization of the Lake Katrine School, Ulster County Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Ulster ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the U.S.

She enjoyed appearing before civic organizations, high school and colleges as speaker to inform and give a better understanding of the court system.

Justice Leonard leaves behind a legacy of hope. The importance of listening, forgiveness and her passion for sharing her knowledge of the court system. It was common knowledge that everyone was treated with respect and there was no place in her courtroom for favoritism or politics. Known as a caring, unselfish, free-spirited woman who touched the lives of everyone she knew, she was loved and respected by both the professional community as well as many individuals who had weathered troubled times. Many who appeared before her, as well as many parents of young people who were before her court, made it known that because of her decisions regarding their personal lives or their children’s lives, that they had been able to turn their lives around and were happier for it. She had the ability to access relationships easily thus creating and maintaining a circle of friends that influenced her day to day activities.

Survivors include her daughters, Daryl A. Leonard-Blue of Lake Katrine, and Sondra J. Leonard of Wayland, Mass., a son Mark S. Leonard of Seattle, WA., a sister, Jane (William) Beintema of Knoxville, Tenn., two grandchildren, Xanadou Blue and Amanda Leonard, and two great-granddaughters, Michaela and McKenzie Blue. Several nieces also survive.

She is predeceased by two brothers, Walter C. and Theodore Davidson, and former husband John F. Leonard.

Calling hours and services were held privately due to the current virus pandemic. Burial was held privately at Mt. Marion Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Paula’s memory are suggested to:

Ulster County SPCA
35 Wiedy Rd, Kingston, NY 12401 or

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:

The Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home, 339 Broadway, Ulster Park, is entrusted with the care and funeral service arrangements for Paula.

Send the family an expression of condolence by visiting Paula’s Book of Memories:
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 |
    Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
    Mt. Marion Cemetery
    Kings Highway
    Mt. Marion, NY 12456
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
Private Interment


  • American
  • YWCA


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Richard Roberg

Posted at 07:36am
Judge Leonard (Paula) was a dear and close friend. She was a mentor to many, including myself. She was a vigorous proponent of women's rights and portrayed this ideal by her strength of Judicial dignity and character.
We shared our car rides to and from NYSMA meetings with enlightening and, at times, vigorous discussion on topics concerning our organization. You knew where she stood!!!
We wanted to share one more ride to our meeting, but it was not to be. We will miss her very much.

Roberta and Honorable Richard Roberg

Alfred Mainetti

Posted at 11:01am
My condolences to all who loved Paula. As an attorney, I appeared before her hundreds of times and we became friends. I still tell so many stories of our various cases and Paula's unusual and sometimes humorous resolutions. Paula was a great lady, not to soon be forgotten.
Al Mainetti

Kristin Chartier

Posted at 05:47pm
My condolences to your entire family, CJ (Sondra). Your mom sure was an accomplished woman who lived such a full life and her personality shines through in the pictures posted (I love her many stylish hats!) May the memories of your mom comfort you and may she rest in peace. Love, Kristin

Maura Albert

Posted at 12:21pm
Heartfelt condolences go out to the whole family especially my longtime friend Sondra, Paula’s youngest daughter. Paula, I will remember your friendliness and kindness on the phone, on email and in person when I stayed at your home a few years ago. You have led a very productive life and will be long remembered by everyone you have touched.


Posted at 11:41pm
My heart is broken. I have you everyday in my heart. I love you.
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