PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Leonard Eli Phelps, 86, of Punta Gorda, Fla., passed away on Oct. 18, 2012.
He was born on Nov. 20, 1925, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Pearl (nee: Goff) and Frank Phelps, Sr.
He served in World War II until released upon the death of his only brother, Frank Phelps, Jr. In the early '50s he began work at Decca Records as their Midwest regional representative promoting artists such as Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Stevie Wonder, Buddy Holly, Sammy Davis Jr., to name a few. Leaving Decca, he took on managing Chicago's Famous "Cloister Inn" fostering the early careers of "house act" Ramsey Lewis, Ahmad Jamal, Della Reese, Lenny Bruce as well as headliners like Duke Ellington. Moving back to Cincinnati he, with best friend and record distributor Mel Herman, began promoting and managing downtown Jazz hot spot "The Living Room." The mid '60s would bring his work with "The Lookout House Supper Club" a jazz entertainment dining complex under one roof. The main room, with acts such as Count Basie and his Orchestra, and smaller solo to trio acts performing simultaneously in the lounges. Seeking a slower pace and sunshine he made his way to the island of St. Thomas where he managed island "Sibs Mountain View" until 1983 when he finally settled in Punta Gorda, where he has been employed by "Royal Tee Golf Club" for the past 30 years.
He is survived by his loving family, including his wife of 35 years, Gaye Phelps; children, Krista Cassandra Phelps, Jonathon Erik Phelps (Christy); grandchildren, Alia Corin Phelps, Rachel, Sara; great-grandchildren, Luca, Malin, Beck.
Visitation was at Coral Ridge Funeral Home, Cape Coral, Fla. Graveside services will be held 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Mote Cemetery, Pitsburg, with Rev. John Wiltshire officiating. Kreitzer Funeral Home, Arcanum in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to KreitzerFuneralHomeInc.com.