Hazel Leebrick Pless

November 29, 1925January 7, 2019

Hazel Leebrick Pless

Hazel died peacefully at Vinson Hall Retirement Community, The Sylvestry - Memory Support Assisted Living on 7 January 2019 at age 93.

Hazel is a native Virginian. She was born on 29 November, 1925 in Brookneal, VA. She left home right after high school, during WWII, to attend nursing school in Lynchburg, VA. It was during this time that she met her first husband Tinsley Leebrick Jr. and father of her two children. She resided in Norfolk, VA after the war, where her children were born, until 1953 at which time she and her new family moved to Bridgeport, CT. While there she became administrator of a nursing facility for the elderly. Returning to Virginia Beach in 1964 and then to Arlington in1968 she worked as a private duty nurse primarily caring for the elderly. It was a calling for her, she loved it dearly. After her first husband passed away unexpectedly in 1976 she started traveling the world extensively until she met Don Pless. They married in June of 1990 and the traveling continued. Hazel always had a desire to own and operate a bed-and-breakfast. This was truly a passion and labor of love for her, a life long dream. After purchasing the “The Catoctin House Inn” located in Hillsboro, VA she and Don operated it as a bed and breakfast. She had a work ethic that was unmatched and a passion for anything she attempted. When the time came that the bed-and-breakfast was more than they could handle Hazel and Don moved back to Arlington where they resided until her death. In 1986 she was voted Nurse of the Year. Hazel was a collector and loved antiques, this was her second love, nursing being the first. She worked as a volunteer at the Junior League Thrift for twenty three years. She continued to travel 40 miles to volunteer at least one day a week at the Junior League Thrift until it closed in 2002. Hazel and Don attended the First Baptist Church in Washington, DC where Hazel was very active. She served for many years as the chairperson of the Social Committee. In June 1993 at the 191st Church Aniversary Banquet Hazel received recognition and appreation for high standards of hospitality exibited during the church year 1993. In 1997 Hazel received the “Truman Award”, an award granted annually to a lay person who has rendered unusual Christian service during the preceding year. Hazel was mild mannered, frequently smiling, and loved all people. She never had anything negative to say about anyone. The words most spoken by Hazel were “I love you” and “Thank you”.

Hazel is survived by her husband Donald Pless of Arlington, VA; her son Tinsley Leebrick III and daughter-in-law Sandy of Kennesaw, GA; daughter Pamela Appleton and son-in-law Thomas of Benton, IL; and sister Reva Guthrie Kirkland of Virginia Beach, VA. Hazel had two grandchildren, Megan Hinkle, married to Brian Hinkle, of Holly Springs, GA and Brett Leebrick of Kennesaw, GA, by her son and daughter-in-law. Hazel had three great-grandchildren, Ansleigh, Anderson and Harrision by her granddaughter Megan. Hazel had a grandson Joshua Appleton, married to Shannon Appleton of Benton, IL, by her daughter Pamela and son-in-law Thomas, and two great-grandsons Henry and Alexander. Hazel had five nieces, Marian Howard, Kathi Culbreth, Jane Kowalczyk, Elizabeth Cassidy, and Deb Kirkland. Don Pless has two sons Don and Jeff both of Arlington, VA. Hazel is preceded in death by her parents Ocie and Sally Guthrie of Brookneal, VA, and her first husband, and father of her children, Tinsley Leebrick Jr of Arlington, VA.

Memories or condolences can be sent to The family would like to thank the staff at Vinson Hall Retirement Community, The Sylvestry - Memory Support Assisted Living at 1728 Kirby Road, McLean, VA 22101 for the loving care that Hazel received while residing there.

A viewing and visitation is scheduled for 2 February, 2019 from 2 PM until 4 PM at Murphy Funeral Homes, 4510 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203 (703-920-4800). All are welcome to attend and celebrate Hazel's life. Donations can be sent to Alzheimer's Association at

Funeral services and burial to be announced at a later date.


  • Visitation Saturday, February 2, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Graveside Service Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hazel Leebrick Pless

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tom Appleton

January 23, 2019

Two beautiful ladies in Hawaii. Pam, who bears the sorrow of the loss of her mother and best friend, Hazel . Hazel was beautiful both outside and inside. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

Deb Kirkland

January 20, 2019

Please know we extend our consolences to Don, Pam, Tim and their families during this time . You all are held close in our hearts, as well as, in our thoughts and prayers. I will always have fond memories of Aunt Hazel, with her zest for life, sense of curiosity for travel, and the best recipes for family dinners, particularly the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes! I remember nights spent at the B&B and stories of travel and experiences shared. Aunt Hazel instilled the desire to travel far and wide to see what’s out there and to keep our world and vision from getting small. Attached is a photo of Mom, Don and Hazel together when we saw her last August. <3

Ken Ellison

January 18, 2019

I got to know Hazel on two church trips to Europe before she met Don. She was the "life of the bus" and a great table partner at the Munich Oktoberfest. She and Don have been good friends with our family over the years. The last time I saw Hazel was at the memory care unit. She and Don were sitting on a small couch, with his arm around her shoulder and her smiling up at him. They looked like two teenagers in love. Well, maybe not exactly like teenagers, but definitely in love. What a wonderful example of second chances.

Pamela Appleton

January 16, 2019

Paula Grant

January 14, 2019

Remembering Hazel

Age is irrelevant in friendships. At least, it was in mine with Hazel. I met her almost 30 years ago, when I responded to an ad she had posted offering vintage clothing for sale. Straight away, I was mesmerized by her charm, her humor, and her zest for life. She was as old as my mother, but she didn’t seem old, or act old, or think old. Instead, she was in perpetual motion (usually with Don in tow): engaging in church activities, running a B&B, tending a garden, volunteering at a thrift store, globe-trotting, and so much more. Hazel showed me how to love life and in doing so, she brought so much joy and pleasure and plain old good fun into mine. With sadness and unbounded gratitude, I will forever cherish my memories of her and of our friendship. -- Paula Grant

Josh, Shannon, Henry and Alexander Appleton

January 13, 2019

My heart is broken that my husband and children have lost their Gramma (and Great Gramma) Hazel and my dear Mother in Law Pam has lost her precious mama. Our family trips to visit Gramma Hazel and Dear Don in DC with our Grammy Pammy and Grampa Tom were the highlight of our year. My boys would always cry when they had to say goodbye to their Great Gramma. We had planned to go see Gramma Hazel and Dear Don again this spring during the cherry blossom festival and I’m so sad that we won’t get to ever see Gramma Hazel’s beautiful face again. My heart aches for Don, who worshipped the ground Hazel walked on; theirs was a love story for the ages. We are sending him our love. We love you Grammy Pammy, I know you are shattered. Maybe we can still go on our trip to DC and see those cherry blossoms. Your mama instilled and nurtured your love and talent with flowers and it seems fitting to go to the town she so loved and see such a beautiful sight. I love you.

Kathi Culbreth

January 12, 2019

Don, Pam, Jr and family,

Thinking of you all. Prayers. I love y’all.

Kathi Culbreth and family

Reva Kirkland

January 12, 2019

A sweet pictures of sisters Reva and Hazel

Elizabeth Cassidy

January 12, 2019

I don’t remember ever seeing Aunt Hazel without a big smile on her face, and a hug for everyone around her.
This picture was taken at my wedding in 1991.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Don, Pam, Jr., and their families.

Pamela Appleton

January 11, 2019

My heart is broken!