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Church volunteer remembered for giving

By Staff | Jun 30, 2017

Jo Ann Leasure was the kind of a woman who loved to be in the mix, whether it be as a city council member in New Jersey or in her church in North Fort Myers.

That’s what Dr. Jeffrey Deyoe, Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers, said about Leasure on Friday about the woman who served as an ordained elder at the church and was known in the church community throughout Southwest Florida.

“What didn’t she do here? She was very involved in the governing board of the church and was part of our governance many times,” Deyoe said. “She was known and loved not only in Fort Myers but all of Southwest Florida.”

Leasure, 77, headed up the church’s Presbyterian Women’s Group and, at one point, was the head of the organization in Southwest Florida.

She also volunteered for virtually anything the church needed her for. Jane Kaserman, a church volunteer, said Leasure was usually the first to step forward.

“Jo Ann volunteered to do anything. She was very important to our mission program. She was also a friend to everybody,” Kaserman said. “I always considered her a sister because our ancestors came from the same place. Every child was one of her kids.”

Among the things Leasure did was head up the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, the day before Lent, where she would have the children serve the pancakes.

Kaserman said it would be a tough loss for the church – and herself.

“She was determined to do what was best for the community. She always did her own thing and it worked out well,” Kaserman said. “It’s a terrific loss to the church family and community.”

Leasure’s record of service included being a city council member in Palmyra, N.J., and she also was a candidate for Freeholder in Burlington County and an educator.

“She always liked to be in the mix. She believed you should make a difference in your church and community,” Deyoe said. “We loved Jo Ann. She was a woman of faith and this community, and she’ll be an example we will hold in our hearts a long time.”

Leasure, 77, was found dead last Wednesday morning inside her condominium at 3458 Hancock Bridge Parkway by a church member after she failed to show up for vacation bible school, for which she was a volunteer.

Deyoe said it was out of character for her to miss anything, so he knew something was wrong, especially after she failed to pick up the phone.

“It was way out of character and we had a church member who lived close by check for us and we found out,” Deyoe said.

Thursday evening, Lee County detectives arrested Brett Pleasant, 51, and charged him with second-degree murder and robbery.

Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said in a statement that investigators worked around the clock to solve the homicide.

“Our major crimes detectives and forensics unit personnel left no stone unturned in this murder,” Marceno said. “With the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and our partners at the State Attorney’s Office, we have built a solid case against the monster responsible for this senseless murder. Sheriff Mike Scott and I could not be more proud of the law enforcement teamwork in this case.”