Mabel Mauch, 89, of Moses
Lake died Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007, at Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake. She was
known to most people as Mabel Leonard.
Mabel was born March 20,
1917 in Big Piney, Mo. to Clifford and Josephine Bartlett Steward. She moved
with her family to northeast Oklahoma when she was very young. She attended
school there and graduated from high school as her class of 1934 salutatorian.
Mabel married a Miami
Indian, Sam Leonard, at Picher, Okla. in 1935, where they remained until moving
to Sunnyside in 1947.
In 1953, Sears announced
they would be opening a catalog store in Sunnyside, so she decided to apply for
a job. Mabel was quite surprised when the district manager called her back in
to offer her the position of store manager. He told her she had achieved a very
high score on the executive test. From that point on she never lived a dull
Sears transferred her to Moses
Lake in 1962 to manage the Sears store there.
When Sam died, the regional
office in Seattle had been trying to promote her to district manager for more
than two years but she refused because of her husbands’ health. Very shortly
after burying her husband of 38 years, the regional director approached her
once more and she accepted the promotion, making her the first and only woman
in the history of Sears catalog to be promoted to the executive position of
district manager. She would go to conferences and be the only woman in the
group, which inspired the company to invite the wives of her male
contemporaries to attend executive functions they had never been invited to
before so that Mabel would not stand out as the only woman in the group. She
won many promotional contests and awards over the years. She was in charge of
17 catalog stores located in Western Montana, Central Washington and Northern
Idaho, thus she was constantly on the road either by car or plane. She had many
hair-raising tales of the winter driving conditions in the great-northwest.
Mabel retired from Sears in 1979 after 25 years of employment with the company.
After retirement, Mabel
joined a group called Loners on Wheels, which is a group of retired singles who
travel together in their RV’s, and she was a snowbird every winter.
She married Herbert Balliet
of Moses Lake in 1979. He preceded her in death, in 1983.
After marrying Reuben Mauch
in 1986, she sold her home in Moses Lake. They became full-time RV’ers for
several years. Reuben also preceded her in death, in 2005.
Mabel is survived by her
only daughter, Sammye Darling of Moses Lake.
There will be no services.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor her memory may contribute to the
American Cancer Society. Kayser’s Chapel of Memories in Moses Lake is in charge