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Gurney Leon “Woody” Leatherwood

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Gurney Leon “Woody” Leatherwood, 84, the husband of the Rev. Neva Leatherwood, a retired pastor, died Nov. 8, 2018, from lung cancer. A memorial service was held Nov. 21, in the chapel of Bethany UMC in Ellicott City. 

Gurney Leon Leatherwood was born Oct. 2, 1934,in Mount Airy, the son of W. Russell Leatherwood, a painter, and Anna Molesworth Leatherwood, a boarding house operator. He graduated in 1952 from Mount Airy High School and the next year took a job working in communications for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1955 and attained the rank of master sergeant. Subsequently he served in the Air Force Reserves and the North Dakota Air National Guard until 1963.

He and Neva Hartman married in 1962.  They moved to Baltimore in 1963 and he worked as an electronics technician at Bendix Corp. in Towson for two years, then returned to the B&O and its telecommunications division. He had a long career with the B&O and its successor company CSX. He retired in 1996.

In 1979, he joined the Maryland National Guard and served as a combat engineer until being discharged in 1992.

After more than 20 years of marriage, Neva Leatherwood began her ministerial service in 1984 at Alberta Gary UMC for a year, then was appointed to Lewistown for three years. She was ordained an Elder in 1987 and from 1988-89 served Ames UMC at Pikestown and the Ames-Stone Chapel Charge until 1992, then Hughes UMC in Wheaton for two years. From 1994-1997, she was at Melville Chapel in Elkridge. In 1997, she was appointed to HWR-MW Parish in Mt. Washington until she took a leave of absence in 1998. From 1999-2002, she served the Midland Charge until she retired.

An outdoorsman, Leatherwood enjoyed hunting.

He was predeceased by a son Dale Leatherwood who died in 2000.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the Rev. Neva Hartman, who in retirement was a pastor at Mount Washington UMC; two sons, Glenn Leatherwood of Omaha and Dan Leatherwood of Chester Springs, Pa.; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Nature Conservancy, Attn: Treasury, 4245 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203 ( or the Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska, NE 68410 (

Condolences may be sent to Rev. Neva Leatherwood, 2613 Melba Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042.