I walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) Leilani Dale Fleming Sasser was born on Sunday, June 2, 1935 in Luray, Virginia. She was the only child of George Engram Fleming and Rita Elizabeth Jenkins Fleming. She attended grade school in Luray, Virginia and Arlington, Virginia, and attended high school in Oberlin, Ohio. While in Oberlin, she took voice lessons from teachers at Oberlin Conservatory and was frequently a soloist with college ensembles. She attended Ashland College (now University) in Ashland, Ohio for one year and was the soloist for their traveling choir. She met her husband, Earl L. Sasser, Jr., in 1957 in...
I walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Leilani Dale Fleming Sasser was born on Sunday, June 2, 1935 in Luray, Virginia. She was the only child of George Engram Fleming and Rita Elizabeth Jenkins Fleming.
She attended grade school in Luray, Virginia and Arlington, Virginia, and attended high school in Oberlin, Ohio. While in Oberlin, she took voice lessons from teachers at Oberlin Conservatory and was frequently a soloist with college ensembles. She attended Ashland College (now University) in Ashland, Ohio for one year and was the soloist for their traveling choir.
She met her husband, Earl L. Sasser, Jr., in 1957 in Rochester, New York. They met at a young adult group in his church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church. At the time, she was a soloist in her uncle's ensemble, Cecil & Jenks. Leilani was a regular singer on the Bill Gordon television show in Cleveland, Ohio. While performing, she met and conversed with other performers such as Elvis and Bobby Darin. She shared with family that Elvis advised her against pursuing a show business career because the odds were that the trials of show business would cost her more than she would wish to give up.
Leilani and Earl were married on Monday, December 28, 1959 at her parent's home in Oberlin, Ohio. Earl returned to his graduate study at Cornell University and Leilani remained with her parents. She was offered a performing contract, but turned it down in order to raise a family. Earl went to work in Washington, D.C. and Leilani's father brought her to him in D.C where they established their home. Leilani was "Miss Clairol" for Washington, D.C. for a period of time.
While in Washington, D.C., Leilani had three children and attended the D.C. Teachers College between births; earning her Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education in1969 and was certified to teach both elementary and middle school grades.
The family moved to Oakland Mills Village in Columbia, Maryland in 1971 with all three children; becoming one of the early families to reside in Columbia.
She and Earl are Charter Members of Columbia Baptist Fellowship (CBF). She was the first choir director at CBF; a Deacon; the Treasurer of Ladies Organized for Volunteering and Encouragement (L.O.V.E); drove the church van to transport seniors to church; and the team leader for the ministry at Kahler Hall. Leilani coordinated both athletics and first aid for vacation bible school and for church campouts. She made the "CBF Family Tree" banner used for many years.
She continued to be quite active at CBF, in addition to parenting and teaching; while earning a Masters Equivalency at the University of Maryland.
Her priorities were taking care of family, helping others, oil painting and fixing up her home.
Leilani taught 1st grade at Stevens Forest Elementary; and she was later a teacher and team leader at Hammond Elementary and Middle School. She loved to teach, and she was the first teacher in many ways for her grandchildren even after her formal retirement.
In the early 1970's, Leilani was informed that she had diabetes; however, she was able to maintain a full schedule of work, church and family activities for some years. However, by 1986, the diabetes and its ensuing complications forced her to retire from teaching.
After retirement, she continued singing in the choir and participating in other church activities to the extent that she was able.
To say that Leilani loved music is an understatement. She collected bells and statues of horses. She loved the outdoors and all kinds of animals. She was quite athletic and fearless; riding her horse barefoot and bareback as a young girl and white water rafting as an adult. Her sense of humor and her engaging smile was contagious.
On February 27, 2013, she passed from this life and went to be with our Lord.
She leaves to mourn her passing, her husband of fifty-three years, Earl Leslie Sasser, Jr., two sons, Corporal Earnest L. Sasser and Nicholas M. Sasser; one daughter, Elizabeth Ann Haase; one son-in-law, Phillip J. Haase Sr.; two daughters-in-law, Brooke A. Sasser and B. Michele Sasser; one sister-in-law, Minnie A. Sasser; one nephew-in-law, Lieutenant Commander David C. Sasser and his wife, Nanette D. Sasser; six grandchildren, Phillip J. Haase Jr., Nathanael D. Haase, Anna V. Haase, Brea N. Sasser, Kyle E. Sasser, Claire H. Sasser; one grand nephew, Logan D. Sasser; and one grand niece, Octavia H. Sasser.
Because of Leilani's great love of animals and her concern for their welfare, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, in memory of her.
Memorial Services will be held Friday, March 8, 2013, at Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, The Meeting House, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD 21045. Visitation and receiving of friends begins at 12:30 p.m.; Worship Services begins at 1:30 p.m.