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John Sheffield Leonard

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Georgetown, Maine - John Sheffield Leonard, 84, enthusiastic father, sailor, fisherman, naval architect, and father, died at home on Nov. 27, 2012.

John was born May 8, 1928, in New Bedford, Mass., son of Wardwell Coles Leonard and Lilias (Sheffield) Leonard. He grew up in Tiverton, R.I. John summered in Bridgeton, Maine, where he learned to love the water, swim, and sail. In 1943, he qualified as a Junior Maine Guide. John graduated from Rogers High School, Newport, R.I., in 1946, and received a bachelor of science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan in 1952.

He married Mary Varian on June 13, 1953. They settled in Stonington and raised three sons.

John's early career focused on submarine design working for Electric Boat (EB), soon to become General Dynamics, in Groton. John's career advanced until he was manager of Operations Research. In 1971, he founded Shearwater Inc., a small business specializing in naval research and development. Some of his design concepts remain in use today.

A competitive sailor, John was proud owner of a number of racing and cruising sailboats. Summer weekends usually found the family sailing the waters of southern New England. He was an active member of the Noank Sailing Club and a regular participant in many racing events including Off Soundings Club regattas.

In 1984, John and Mary retired to Georgetown Island, Maine, and built their home near the water, allowing easy access for sailing and fishing. In order to better pass their time off-season, they set up the breakfast-only Round The Bend Café which was in business from 1995 to 2002. The café promoted early morning cribbage games that later moved to the Country Store and Community Center.

John was predeceased by his wife, Mary.

He is survived by three sons and their spouses, John "Buzz" and Becky Leonard of Pownal, Maine, Dana and Gigi Leonard of Freeport, Maine, Nathan and Betsy Leonard of Locke, N.Y.; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; his brother, Wardwell C. Leonard and family of Ledyard; and close friend, Caroline Werth.

A memorial celebration will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Georgetown (Maine) Community Center.

Donations may be made in memory of Mr. Leonard to CHANS Home Health Care, 60 Baribeau Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011, or Georgetown Community Center, PO Box 103, Georgetown, ME 04548.
Published in The Day on Dec. 5, 2012
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