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Published: Monday, 12/4/2006

BGSU graduate was a political activist

NAPOLEON Wendy Sue Leatherman, 51, a star political science student in college who worked at four national conventions and under two Ohio senators and a former lieutenant governor, died Saturday at her home here following a battle with leukemia.

Ms. Leatherman was named political science student of the year as a junior at Bowling Green State University in 1976. That same year she took a job with the Associated Press as a news courier during both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, recalled her brother, Larry Leatherman. City, where the Democrats nominated Jimmy Carter.

Ms. Leatherman regularly found herself straddling the two worlds of Republicans and Democrats. While in college, she held internships in the offices of Lt. Gov. Dick Celeste, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Robert Taft, father of the current governor.

In her personal political views, Ms. Leatherman considered herself an independent. But her family members said they knew better.

She was a big-time Democrat, but wouldn t admit to it, her brother Larry said.

Another brother, James, agreed.

She was the only real and true Democrat this family had in [the late 1970s], he said.

Ms. Leatherman graduated from BGSU in 1977, and shortly afterwards enrolled at The George Washington University Law School in Washington. However, a severe case of mononucleosis forced her to return to Ohio just six weeks into the term, her brother Larry said.

Upon her recovery, she began working as a mail clerk for Democratic Sen. John Glenn. At times, her responsibilities included prioritizing letters for the senator to see.

Ms. Leatherman enjoyed working in the senator s office so much that she preferred staying there over returning to law school, Larry Leatherman said. She worked for Mr. Glenn for two years before enrolling at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

She left school before receiving a law degree, and also married during this time and later divorced.

Yet politics remained a lifelong interest for Ms. Leatherman, who would often engage in friendly debate with family members over various issues of the day.

I do remember many spirited discussions with her, her brother James said.

Ms. Leatherman worked as a news courier for the AP again in 1992 for both parties national conventions. She traveled to Houston, Texas, where the Republicans nominated incumbent George H.W. Bush and again to Madison Square Garden, where the Democrats nominated Bill Clinton.

Her brother Larry could not say exactly what sparked his sister s interest in politics, but believes it had something to do with a deep-felt morality.

She had a tremendous sense of fairness for what was right and what was wrong, he said.

Ms. Leatherman was born April 5, 1955, in Wauseon, and was a 1973 graduate of Liberty Center High School.

Surviving are her mother, Winifred Leatherman-Smith; sisters, Lowynn Leatherman-Atkinson and Cathy Griteman, and brothers, Larry, James, and Peter Leatherman.

Visitation is set for tomorrow after 2 p.m. in the Wright Funeral Home, Liberty Center. The funeral will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Liberty Chapel United Methodist Church, Liberty Center.

The family suggests memorials to the American Cancer Society or a charity of the donor s choice.



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