Russell Eugene Leonard, 77, of Bozeman passed away Monday, Jan. 25, 2010.
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Born in Winslow, Ariz., on May 20, 1932, he was the eldest of two boys born to Francis and Edith Leonard.
Russ served in the Marine Corps on the front line during the Korean War. He survived even though two of his platoons lost their lives during the conflict. This was a huge cross that he bore all the days of his life. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal, Marine Marksmanship Award and Purple Heart.
After the war, Russ went to work for Motorola, where he was one of the first crystal growers in the United States. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry at Arizona State University in Phoenix at the same time.
In 1955 Russ met the love of his life, Joanne. They were married on April 2, 1956, in Phoenix, and had four sons. The years were spent volunteering in whatever activities the boys were involved in: Little League, Boy Scouts and CCD. Russ and Joanne were also very active with Cursillo and Catholic Engaged Encounter.
In 1972, Corning Glass bought the company that Russ worked for and they moved to El Paso, Texas. A short year later, the operation closed and the family moved to Tucson. Russ tried his hand with State Farm as an agent, but being a salesman was not his thing.
Russ and Joanne divorced and he began his career as a chemical engineer, working in the mining industry, which brought him to Montana. He retired from Luzenac in the early 1990s and devoted the remainder of his life in loyal service to Holy Rosary Church as sacristan and building maintenance supervisor, where there was no task that he would not do!
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Bozeman Council No. 1413, where he served faithfully, and was at one time the Grand Knight.
Russ was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James Leonard; and daughter-in-law, Gail Leonard.
Survivors include his four sons, Brian Leonard of Tucson, Ariz., Greg (Theresa) Leonard of Winslow, Ariz., Mark (Marti) Leonard of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Jeff Leonard of Bullhead City, Ariz.; his former wife, Joanne Adams of Tucson, Ariz.; sister-in-law and good friend, Ginny Shouse; three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and his extended family at Holy Rosary in Bozeman.
Dad had a sympathetic shoulder for anyone. He was admired and loved by all. He could converse on any subject. He loved his family very much. We all love you and will miss you very much.
Visitation will be from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, followed by a Rosary at 5:30 p.m. and a Vigil service at 6 p.m., all at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Funeral Mass will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Interment with military rites will follow in Sunset Hills Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Holy Rosary Building Fund, P.O. Box 96, Bozeman, MT 59771.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 29, 2010