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Published: Friday, 9/28/2001 - Updated: 2 years ago

Reporter, publicist prided herself on surviving cancer

MARBLEHEAD - Carla J. Leggett, a former newspaper reporter and longtime area resident, died Wednesday in Magruder Hospital, Port Clinton, shortly after losing consciousness during a swimming class. She was 69.

The cause of death has not yet been determined. An autopsy has been ordered, family members said.

For two decades, Mrs. Leggett worked as a reporter and editor for the former Port Clinton Daily News and for the Port Clinton News Herald, the paper formed by the merger of the Daily News and the Herald.

She retired from journalism in the early 1970s and in recent years handled public relations duties for Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Lines, her daughter, Beth Leggett, said.

“She won state awards for her feature writing and continued to write columns and features until the last few years,” Beth Leggett explained.

In 1994, Mrs. Leggett organized the Blessing of the Fleet in Marblehead at the ferry line's dock. The blessing ceremony, done in conjunction with the Peninsula Ministerial Association, has become an annual rite of spring for commercial and pleasure craft.

In the mid-1980s, Mrs. Leggett was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. She made a full recovery. “One of the things she was proudest about was being a cancer survivor,” her daughter said.

The brush with cancer led Mrs. Leggett to become active in cancer-survival issues. She was instrumental in the formation of the “I Can Cope” program at Magruder and in Bellevue, Ohio.

“She instilled in all of us a duty to do public service,” said her daughter, who represents Ottawa and Wood counties for the Greater Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Mrs. Leggett and her husband, Robert, were married in 1951. He died last year.

Mrs. Leggett's memberships included St. Joseph Catholic Church, the Ohio Newspaper Women's Association, and the board of the Danbury Township Kidney Fund.

Surviving are her daughters, Beth Leggett and Laura Jean Armendariz; son, John, six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the church, where the body will be an hour beforehand. The Niedecker, LeVeck, and Crosser Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

The family requests tributes to the Ottawa County District Office of the American Red Cross, the Danbury Township Kidney Fund, or Heartbeat of Ottawa County.

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