"I had no formal training," she said. "I did whatever Shirley, Mr. Noble and Mr. May told me to."
She lasted just a little longer than she thought she would
"When the woman (her predecessor) who had worked here six years left, I told her I'd never last that long," Leigh said. However, she lasted much longer.
"I've seen many come and go. I've gotten along well with most of them," she said, adding that she keeps in touch with a few of the former agents.
One of the last and most rewarding things she's done is to help Friends of Education pack sack lunches for fifth graders who spend time in the Beech Bottom, a one-room school on the Casey County High School campus.
She has spent six days a year helping out with the one-room school project, which is part of the Cooperative Extension Services community involvement outreach programs. The original one-room school was moved from Brush Creek to the site with the help of the Casey Retired Teachers Association. It has been upgraded and is used for school projects.
Leigh served on the original board of Friends of Education, formed in the 1980s, to help raise funds for county educational projects that the school system did not fund. "That's the best group of people I've worked with," she said.
She's also worked with the local Junior Miss Scholarship Program, and for the past three years has been in charge of the program book.
Moving to Ashland to be near her daughter's family
After a couple of weeks to get things ready, Leigh plans to move to Ashland to be near her daughter, Susan Hester and family, and help care for her two grandchildren. That's after she gets her youngest daughter, Brittany, through a wedding next month.
Leigh's last few days with the extension service has been spent training her replacement, Alissa J. Buchanan, who assumes the position as staff assistant.
As she thought about her life in Casey County, that began here when she was 2 years old, Leigh said she will miss friends and acquaintances.
The 54-year-old Leigh said it has been rewarding to work with the extension people from University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the office personnel, and farmers, homemakers and 4-H'ers.
"They are totally the best," Leigh said. "That's what I'll miss the most. Everyone has been so nice and kind to me."
"I've gone through all kinds of emotions (since she decided to retire). Happy, scared and excited." She's anxious to try something new and meet new people. I'm going to have to get used to a new town."
Leigh said this move is a step out in faith. "I'm going to do what God wants me to. I'll give it my best."
She does not plan to stay away from Casey County totally. "I'll be back and visit."