John J. Leonard

John Leonard

SANTA CRUZ, CA — John J. Leonard died on March 20th in Santa Cruz, California, of natural causes at the age of 91.

John was born in Marquette, Michigan, on August 8, 1925, and grew up on W. Michigan Street with his parents Joseph and Edna. His sisters, Alma Ann Leonard and Rosemary DeLoach, predeceased him. At age 17, he graduated from Bishop Baraga High School and volunteered with the Marines to serve in World War II. Finishing his active duty status in the Marine Corps Reserve after the war, he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant. Following the war, he attended and graduated from Northern Michigan University on the GI Bill. His career path led through Los Angeles to Santa Cruz in 1958 where he taught elementary school. He earned a master’s degree at San Jose State.

He was married to Anne Halloran Leonard of Tucson, Arizona, for 64 years, where she presently resides. He is survived by his four children, John J. Leonard, Jr., aka Joe, (Phyllis), Margaret A. Leonard (Clare), James F. Leonard (Erin), and Maria Choy (Chuck), who all remember him as the most witty, most kind, most gentle, and funniest man. His beloved grandchildren are Megan Leonard, Kevin Leonard (Pam), James Patrick Leonard, Tonjianne Leonard, Kira Clare Leonard, Jacob Barlow Leonard, Rachel Vasquez and Calvin Vasquez.

John retired to Cassel, California, for a few years and then headed to Tucson, Arizona, where he and Anne made their home for almost 20 years. John and Anne would return each summer to Santa Cruz to enjoy his family and the Monterey Bay. John was an avid reader, an artistically skilled wood carver and an ace with the New York Times crossword puzzles.

His only niece, Jean McLean, returned to the UP for her retirement and now proudly calls Marquette her home, along with her husband, Tim Trowbridge.

John was known for his extensive (and exerting) summer tent camping road trips with his family each summer in a Volkswagen Bus. A favorite summer destination was his sister’s camp on Lake Superior in Harvey where his children learned to love the Upper Peninsula.

The family will inter his ashes at the Leonard family plot in Marquette, Michigan, this summer, where they will celebrate his love of Lake Superior, cold beer, and the great outdoors.