Cindy Jones Leiferman made a difference to her family, her friends, the organizations she volunteered and worked for and to Omaha children, who often were the beneficiaries of her work.
Leiferman, 51, died of cancer Thursday at Methodist Hospital, said her husband, Brian M. Leiferman of Omaha. He is senior vice president at Mutual of Omaha Bank.
For more than 22 years, she donated leadership to numerous nonprofits, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their causes.
“Her impact was beyond measure,” said Nancy Edick, a Leiferman friend and dean of the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
“Cindy's passion, creativity and persistence to make things better for the children and families in our community inspired all of us,” Edick said. “She had the ability to round up a team of volunteers, organize an event, raise money and motivate people to care about challenges in our community.”
Some of the organizations that benefited from Leiferman's work are Completely Kids, the Omaha Symphony, Aksarben Coronation Women's Ball Committee, Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Lauritzen Gardens, Kicks for a Cure and Westside High School.
Through her work at Completely Kids, she started the guild and was one of the founders of the annual Pinot, Pigs and Poets fundraiser, said Penny Parker, executive director of Completely Kids.
“She was an amazing person who organized and made special events happen in a way no one else could. Her legacy will go on for years,” Parker said.
In recognition of her work, Completely Kids created the Leiferman Leadership Award and named her the first recipient in 2011. It is given annually to recognize volunteers who exemplify the qualities she shared.
Leiferman also worked seven years with Kicks for a Cure, serving as general co-chairman the last two years. Kicks for a Cure benefits Liz's Legacy Cancer Fund, founded in memory of Liz Karnes, another Omaha volunteer who died from cancer.
“Her (Leiferman's) co-chairmanship these past two years … led to these being the most successful ever — and by quite a bit,” said David Karnes, Liz's husband, a former senator and an Omaha lawyer.
“Cindy was one of the most positive, courageous, fun and inspiring individuals I have ever known,” he said. “She lived every day to the fullest and recognized that every day was a gift, which she shared with her great family and many friends.”
Leiferman was a 2013 Women's Center for Advancement Tribute to Women honoree and was slated to be honored in October as the 2013 Arthritis Society Woman of the Year. She was a past Millard Hall of Fame Award recipient.
Leiferman was employed as special projects coordinator for Completely Kids for six years, until November 2012. Before that, she worked as a mapping specialist for the City of Omaha.
Brian Leiferman described his wife as “a big sharer.”
“She shared her time with a lot of people, but family was always her No. 1 priority. She was a committed person to her family.”
Besides her husband of 16 years, survivors include children Kaitlin M. Stemm of Omaha, Shannon E. Stemm of Chicago and Brian M. Leiferman Jr. of Omaha; mother Patricia Wagner Jones of Omaha; and sisters Christine Jones Sankey of Scribner, Neb., and Kim Jones and Kelley Jones Tate, both of Omaha.
A funeral Mass for Leiferman will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S. 86th St.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Leiferman died Wednesday, Aug. 21.