Cover photo for Helen Gray Leach's Obituary
Helen Gray Leach Profile Photo
1931 Helen 2023

Helen Gray Leach

March 7, 1931 — January 31, 2023

Head Waters


Helen Gray Leach, 91, of Head Waters, passed away Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at her home.

She was born March 7, 1931, a daughter of the late John and Mildred (Bishop) Leach.

Ms. Leach was a member of the former Headwaters Presbyterian Chapel and enjoyed attending and visiting with McDowell Presbyterian Church in her later years.

Known as a local historian, Helen with her wealth of knowledge and steel trap memory, loved to share stories of the past and educate people on local history. 

She worked and lived her entire life on the Cowpasture farm where she was born, raising sheep and hogs, and sold eggs and butter throughout the community.  Helen loved to work in her vegetable garden in the summer and equally enjoyed canning her bounty for the winter months ahead.

Additionally, Helen enjoyed her daily phone call with her community friends and will certainly be missed by them all.

She is survived by her sister, Juanita Bishop Propst of Harrisonburg; nieces, Marilynn Jarrells of Norfolk and Karen McGrath of Stephens City; nephew, Terry Propst of Harrisonburg; one great-niece; one great-nephew; four great-great-nieces; two great-great-nephews; special cousin, Stuart Neil and wife, Glenna of McDowell; as well as special friends, Dorothy Harris and Donnie and Karen Botkin, all of Head Waters.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her longtime companion, Bill Puffenbarger.

A funeral service will be held 1 p.m., Saturday, February 4, 2023 at Obaugh Funeral Home with pastor Elizabeth Pyles officiating. Burial will follow in Head Waters Cemetery.

Active pallbearers will be Mike McGrath, Roger Kincaid, Stuart Neil, Kevin Neil, Danny Snook, Donnie Botkin and Carson Snyder.

The family will receive friends, one hour prior to the service at the funeral home on Saturday.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad, PO Box 268, Monterey, Va. 24465 or Head Waters Cemetery, c/o Elmo Varner, 14952 Highland Turnpike, Head Waters, Va. 24442.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Gray Leach, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, February 4, 2023

12:00 - 1:00pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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