Leonoor Mastboom Zehner

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Beloved wife, cherished mother


Leonoor Mastboom Zehner, 64, of McMurray, formerly of Churchill, passed away Tuesday, July 2, 2013.


She was born June 29, 1949, in Velp, the Netherlands, a daughter of the late Marie-Jose and Paul Mastboom.


Mrs. Zehner was the beloved wife of Lisle Zehner III; cherished mother of Isabel Mastboom Zehner; and loving sister of Harriet Mastboom (Henk Spaan), Peter Paul Mastboom (Marieke) and Marie-Jose Mastboom (Luuk Salomons), all of the Netherlands, and Joyce Mastboom (Peter Meiksins) of Shaker Heights, Ohio.


Also surviving are many nieces and nephews.


She spent years traveling outside the Netherlands to the United States and to North Africa. Between destinations, she cruised across the Atlantic on the Holland America line, where she met her future husband of 42 years. After marrying in the Netherlands, she landed in Pittsburgh.


Once settled, she took the opportunity to enroll in the first class of Chatham University’s Gateway program. She graduated with honors in 1980 with a bachelor of arts in studio arts. Lori Hornell, her art adviser at Chatham, spoke highly of her talent, calling her “flamboyantly pragmatic.”


“That’s how I will always remember Leonoor,” Hornell said. “She could go from recklessly, vividly, impulsive to coolly disciplined. From well beyond cutting-edge fashion design to incisive marketing strategies for her retail stores. A painting I did of Leonoor 15 years ago, now hanging on my kitchen wall, captures Leonoor’s spirit with spangles, sequins and glitter. And what takes it to another level is the mischief you see in her eyes.”


Mrs. Zehner had a passion for her career as an artist. She was an active member and past president of the FiberArts Guild, and she sat on the board of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. She was also a board member of the Society for Contemporary Craft. She was a longtime member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. She exhibited in many juried shows and received numerous awards for her fiber art.


Outside the art scene, she dedicated her time to her family and to organizations that supported the families of others. She served on the boards of Family Health Council, Family Adoption Center and the Jane Holmes Residence. Despite all of her successes as a well-known Pittsburgh artist, her greatest pride was being the mother of her daughter, Isabel.


Something about Mrs. Zehner made her successful in everything she did. Nancy Smith, a nationally renowned ceramist described it, saying, “Leonoor was daunting. Direct, intense, perhaps strident and, at the same time, capable of surprising intimacy. She was a woman full of enthusiasm, energy and joie de vivre; innocent in her wide-eyed enjoyment of the circus. At the same time, there was an Old World sense of the dark and gritty in life – something of the conspirator. The two gave her depth and complexity in her outlook and her contacts with everyone.”


In recent years, she switched gears and put her creativity to work in a new way when she started and grew a successful small business with her husband, Lisle. As freelance writer and public relations professional, Colleen McKay Dingo put it, “She combined the flair of an artist with keen business savvy. Her taste was exquisite – in everything. With her flowing blond hair, bright pink lipstick and whimsical fashions, she made an upbeat statement everyday.”


The family welcomes you to celebrate her life with a gathering of family and friends from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, in Cremation and Funeral Care, 3287 Washington Road, McMurray, PA 15317, 724-260-5546.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, 6300 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, 412-361-1370, or Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, 1101 Western Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233, 412-321-4625. Please view and sign the family’s guest book at www.cremationfuneralcare.com.


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