Margaret Ellen Krippel Leito, 97, completed her earthly journey on Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Fort Worth.
Margaret Ellen Krippel was born on March 10, 1923, in Pontiac, Illinois. She grew up in El Paso, Illinois, until she moved to Fort Worth at the age of 12. She graduated from Our Lady of Victory and then attended the University of Texas.
She met the love of her life, James “Jimmy” Vincent Leito Jr., on a blind date at the Colonial Country Club New Year’s Eve party in 1947. They married at St. Mary The Assumption Catholic Church in Fort Worth on June 10, 1950, and honeymooned at The Broadmoor Hotel, which became one of their favorite places to visit.
Margaret and Jimmy were an inseparable pair that shared a wonderful life together for 50 years. For much of their marriage, they owned and operated the James Leito School of Ballroom Dancing on Mistletoe Boulevard. Over the course of four decades, their school became a Fort Worth institution, teaching generations of families far more than the art of dance by also instilling in young minds the importance of good manners and a proper code of living. When they were not teaching, you could find them dancing at Colonial in the Terrace Room or at one of their favorite parties, such as the Steeplechase Ball or Jewel Charity Ball.
Margaret and Jimmy were blessed with one son, James Vincent Leito III. For many years, the family lived in an apartment at the dance studio. Never too far from the dance classes, young James was often tasked with helping his parents teach the sometimes reluctant middle school students or with demonstrating how to properly ask someone to dance.
To know Margaret was to love Margaret. She always had a zest for life, an unwavering sense of humor, and a quick wit, even during her final days. She loved a good party or reason to celebrate, and she was a joy be around. Some of her fondest memories were with her friends traveling the world, attending TCU football games, and playing cards. She was a long-time member of St. Andrew Catholic Church, Colonial Country Club, and the Dinner Dance Club, where she served as the President in 1970.
Margaret will be remembered for her warmth toward everyone and her devotion to her husband and family. She was a loving mother and grandmother who never wanted to miss a thing, no matter how small. She created countless memories for her grandchildren that they will cherish forever, such as annually hosting Christmas Eve spaghetti dinners, having plenty of popcorn for watching Hello Dolly during sleepovers, playing canasta and the “penny game,” shopping for toys at Mott’s, attending parties and school functions, and always being available to listen.
Margaret’s family would like to thank Dr. David Brigati for his diligent care for her over the past four months. They would also like to thank the staff of Trinity Terrace, where she was a resident for 20 years, for watching over her all these years and for caring for her with love and compassion at the end of her journey. The family also expresses their heartfelt gratitude to friends and family for their prayers and countless deeds of thoughtfulness through the numerous flowers, gifts, and cards Margaret received.
In the words of one of their favorite composers, Irving Berlin, we are comforted in knowing that Margaret and Jimmy are finally reunited in heaven dancing “Cheek to Cheek.”
Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, James Leito Jr.; parents, Joseph and Mary Krippel; siblings, Mary, Joe, John, Bill, and Betty Anne; and grandson, John Michael Leito.
Survivors: Son, James Leito III, and his loving wife, Carol; grandchildren, James (Amanda) Leito IV, Christopher Leito, and Kelly (Peter) Ray; great-grandchildren, James Leito V, Olivia Margaret Leito, and Caroline Margaret Ray; and beloved nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends.