LEONARD, MARK WILLIAM - age 76, passed away on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at his home in Apex. Mark was born May 26, 1937 in Barberton, Ohio and was preceded in death by his parents, William and Faye Leonard and his sister, Teresa Whitlock. A graduate of Maryville High School in Maryville, TN, he was president of the Student Council, captain of the football team, and Outstanding Senior Guy. He graduated from Emory & Henry College in Emory VA, where he enjoyed playing tennis and was honored with a football scholarship and was a member of the Blue Key Honor Society. Upon graduation, he entered the Marine Corps as an officer and completed his OCS, Officers Candidate School, at Quantico, VA. In 1962 he worked with Registered Funds out of Charlotte as a V.P. Later a firm out of Atlanta FSC (Financial Service Corporation) approached him to become a Regional Director and moved him to Raleigh. Under the leadership of Richard Felker and John Keeble, Mark and 3 of his Marine officer buddies, John Gorely, Harley Hunter, and John Topercer, were consistently the top performers for FSC for several years. In 1970 FSC honored Mark in Rio de Janiero, Brazil by asking him to serve as the founding president of IAFP, International Associates of Financial Planners. In the 1980's he founded the software company LFP (Leonard Financial Planning Systems), which was marketed to financial planners nationwide. Max Wren, Wyn Harter, Gerald Townsend, and Sam Hancock were key players in this successful venture. He trained numerous financial planners and insisted they receive their CFP (Certified Financial Planning Degree). In his later years, he and long-time friend Bob Stafford joined forces in real estate development. Although he was a serious business man, he always enjoyed having fun with his family on annual spring skiing trips to Crested Butte, Colorado. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Janice Leonard, son Darin and Karin Leonard, grandson Zack; daughter Lisa and Greg Schneider and grandchildren Justin, Daniel, Benjamin, and Olivia; nephews Craig, Derek, and Mark Whitlock; niece Deborah Lawhead. Throughout his career he never failed to acknowledge that he we would be nothing without Christ in his life. He taught Sunday school at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Raleigh for years. He was a leader in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and could handle difficult and challenging businessmen and was always respected. He excelled in scouting as an Eagle Scout and was honored to be Order of the Arrow. Clarence Boland of Youth for Christ sought Mark's help with fund-raising and later Mark became Chairman of the Board for 20 years. Likewise, Nicky Cruz invited him to serve on his board which led to a lengthy friendship with David Wilkerson. Mark spent time with his four grandsons teaching them the proper and safe way to use a pistol, how to bowl, and to avoid R-rated movies. He was not only a "man's man" but was a fine and honorable man of God. The family is most grateful to the kind and caring staff of 3HC and later Hospice which made him more comfortable in his home after suffering complications from a 2011 stroke. A Celebration of Life service will be held at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary on Tuesday, April 29, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Care Ministries at Colonial Baptist Church, 6051 Tryon Road, Cary, NC. Condolences to the family may be sent to www.willifordfuneral home.com
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Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on June 15, 2014