Billie Joyce Barnett Leeming, former co-publisher of the Journal of the San Juan Islands, died August 13th, 2023 in Friday Harbor. She was 84 years old.
In 1983, Joyce and her husband Frank Leeming purchased the Journal and the Harbor Press printing company. She was active in all phases of the newspaper’s operation.
She became a founding member of the board of the new San Juan Community Theater and directed some of its most successful fund-raising programs, including an annual barbecue competition modeled after the Memphis in May event. In 1990, she was named a Citizen of the Year in San Juan County.
The Leemings were members of Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Leeming was born Sept. 20, 1938, in Panola County, Miss. After college, she held executive secretarial positions in Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., before returning to Batesville as branch office manager of Warner Cable Television Company.
In 1973, she married Frank Leeming, an editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Five years later the family moved to Kingsport, Tenn., where Leeming was publisher of the Kingsport Times-News.
Mrs. Leeming was active in the Kingsport Symphony Guild and president of the local humane society, which successfully pushed the city and county governments to adopt a number of animal cruelty measures and build a new animal shelter.
In 1992, the Leemings sold their company in Friday Harbor and moved to Hot Springs Village, Ark., where Joyce was an active supporter of Small Group Therapy, a non-profit organization in Hot Springs that provides training, housing and treatment for adults with mental illness. She founded Friends of Small Group Therapy, which raises thousands of dollars each year to furnish Christmas gifts for its indigent residents, and supplies for therapeutic programs.
Mrs. Leeming was elected an elder at Presbyterian Kirk in the Pines in Hot Springs Village and later became the church secretary. She retired in 2017.
Survivors include her sons Gregory Scott Leeming and his wife Barbara of Friday Harbor, William C. “Dusty” Leeming of Friday Harbor, Wash.; Frank Leeming, III of Waynesville, N.C.; Lewis Carl Leeming of Haskell, Ark.; daughter Patricia Leeming Barrett of Charlotte, N.C. and six grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Leeming of Hot Springs Village, AR.