Leonor Phyllis Mansfeld Williamson

Areas of Achievement: 

Honored By

Honored by: Cunningham-Jones, Janna-Neen J.
Date submitted: October 24, 2006

Leonor was a 3rd generation member of a pioneer Arizona family. Her grandfather was first President of the Board of Regents of the University of Arizona. He was found and owner of the first news depot and library west of the Pecos River. He was a community leader and philanthropist, as was his wife, Eva Goldschmidt Mansfeld, who gave founding moneys for the first synagogue in Tucson, and was a founder of the Tucson Symphony (the Saturday Morning Musical Club). Leonor's mother, Vivian Ainsworth, also from a pioneer family, was a crack shot - better than the men in the family at "bringing home the bacon" and a super bridge player! Leonor's only sibling was Ann-Eve, 10 months older, but they might as well have been twins. She started school at five years of age so that the sisters could be in the same class. She was very musical, participating in school glee clubs. At fourteen she won first place in the state piano competition which was held in Douglas.

Leonor graduated from Tucson High School and the University of Arizona (1930). She was a member of Mortar Board Women's Scholastic Honorary, and the Alpha Phi social sorority. She taught at Carrillo School - Americanization classes (kindergarten for predominantly Spanish-speaking children). She was a founding member of the Tucson Junior League.

Leonor married A.S.R. Williamson, a member of an Englis-Scottish world-wide trading company (Balfour-Guthrie), which eventually became part of Lever Brothers. She lived and traveled all over the world. Leonor and her family lived in the U.K. immediately after WWII, in order that Archie could participate in the rebuilding and resupplying of England after that war.

Her volunteer efforts in conjunction with various Junior Leagues were many and dedicated to education. After their return to the U.S., Leonor, Archie and the family eventually settled in Greenwich, Connecticut. Leonor founded, directed and costumed the Christmas pageant at the Christ Episcopal Church. She taught Sunday School for the tiny ones, and was one of the first women elected to that vestry. She was also one of the first women to be appointed to the governing board of Brunswick School, a prestigious boys' day school in Greenwich, and gave new meaning to the new phrase "soccer mom," since she helped arrange for soccer to be offered as a regular sport.

In the late 1960s, Leonor and Archie built a beautiful home in the Tucson foothills, and enjoyed spending their winters in the sunshine and entertaining houseguests from all over the world and especially their four grandchildren.

To her Tucson friends and family she was known as "Neenie," a sprightly, tiny bundle of energy, who always knew the right way to do anything, from crafty table decorations for a charity dinner, to what to wear for a Buckingham Palace garden party. She was a bright light to her family and her community.