April Leach, 72, died surrounded by family in Bozeman, Montana on October 4, 2023. She was known for her big heart, limitless kindness, wisdom, intelligence, loyalty, and selflessness; as well as her great love for her family, animals, and friends.
April grew up in Chicago, but the West is rooted in her genes. She attributes her love of animals, nature and the West to time spent as a child visiting Yellowstone National Park and her grandfather's Wyoming ranch. Floyd "Doc" Carroll, beloved Wyoming state veterinarian and cowboy, was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame as one of this country's "Great Westerners."
April was born in Palos Heights, Illinois to Isabel and DuWayne Christofferson. She graduated in 1969 from Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park and in 1971, married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Stephen Leach. She attended the University of Illinois and transferred to the University of Utah, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1973. April and Steve had their first child, Michael Wayne Leach, on October 4, 1978, and their second child, Ashley Isabel Leach, on July 29, 1985, both while living on Fernan Lake in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. During this time, she attended Gonzaga University, and completed her Juris Doctor in 1983. She began a career in law at her private practice in Coeur d’ Alene, and later went on to work as a corporate attorney in Seattle for entertainment and biotech companies. At age 40, she began writing novels. She published nine medical and environmental-thrillers under her maiden name, April Christofferson. Of her writing career, April said, “I love the process of writing, but I write because I’m trying to make a difference.”
April was always involved in animal rescue, and was also a wildlife conservation and social justice activist. She engaged in the communities in which she lived-serving as a board member on numerous state and local organizations, volunteering, and helping in any way she could when someone was in need. She treated everyone she encountered with kindness and dignity. Her generous heart and her devotion to the people, animals, and causes in her life are what truly defined her. She touched so many lives with her kindness and compassion, and her willingness to always go above and beyond to improve the lives of others.
April was preceded in death by her mother, Isabel Christofferson (Carroll) and father, DuWayne Christofferson, and is survived by her husband of 52 years, Stephen Leach; son, Michael Leach, daughter-in-law Amanda Leach, and granddaughter Kamiah Leach; daughter Ashley Sherburne (Leach), son-in-law Ryan Sherburne, and granddaughter Mirabelle Sherburne; brother, Wayne Christofferson, and sister-in-law Barbara Christofferson; sisters, Lisa Christofferson and Carroll Ann Barry, and brother-in-law Neil Robin.
A memorial will be held in spring. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be sent to Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah (https://bestfriends.org/donate) or other favorite animal-rescue or environmental organizations.