Francis "Frank" R. Leonard
Loving Father and Grandfather
BILLERICA -- Francis "Frank" R. Leonard, 91, of Billerica, Chelmsford and Bradenton, FL passed away peacefully March 16, 2014 at Woodbriar of Wilmington following a short period of illness.
Frank was born in Roxbury, MA, the youngest of four brothers born to Charles and Molly Leonard. Frank attended Mechanics Arts High School Boston, graduating with honors and later continued his education graduating from Wentworth Institute Boston. It was during this time that Frank met his loving wife and the mother of his three children, Dorothea.
Frank was working as a machinist at the Watertown Arsenal when WWII began. It was then that Frank volunteered for duty, joining the Army, even though exempt, so that he could "Make his family proud". He was shipped to Ft. Devan's, the Aberdeen proving ground, and then to England. Frank soon became a member of the invasion forces landing on the beach at Normandy and fighting through four more additional battles including the battle for Northern France, Rhineland, Battle of the Bulge Ardennes, and the battle for Central Europe. Frank was highly decorated for his actions during the war, earning enough combat points to become the first soldier discharged from his company. Frank was a member of the "Greatest generation."
It was soon after WWII that Frank moved from Boston to Billerica with his now growing family, now including two of his wife's siblings, Justin Lynch, and Marci (Cryan) Lynch, after having been hired as an experimental machinist, and later model maker working in the Air Force laboratories at L.G. Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA. During this period of time Frank developed, designed, and manufactured many devices to be used in the defense of his country, devices that would be used in space, Vietnam, and throughout the world, during periods of both peace and conflict. Frank received many awards and accolades for his contributions to the defense of the nation and retired from L.G. Hanscom AFB, completing more than 37 years of federal service.
Frank was a founding and lifetime member of the Billerica Council #3963 Knights of Columbus, serving in many capacities for the council, including that of Grand Knight.
Frank spent the last six years of his life living with his son Bob and his wife Helen of Billerica. It was Bob's wife Helen who provided constant care for Frank during this period of time and it was she who catered to his every need in a loving and caring manner. Frank was very fond of western movies, cribbage, golf, and all things sports, in particular the Boston Bruins. Frank loved the Red Sox, but used to brag about how the Boston Braves were a better team, and how he and his brothers could watch them from their back porch.
Frank was an avid golfer who played at every chance. Frank was given the name "Steady Eddie" by his fellow K of C golf league members due to his prowess around and on the green. Frank's last tournament win was at his club in Bradenton, FL, scoring an 82, lower than his age at the time.
Frank was predeceased by his four wives, the mother of his children Dorothea (Lynch) Leonard, and later in life by Estelle (Burke) Leonard, Mary Louise (Williams) Leonard, and Patsy (Fulton) Leonard. Frank was also predeceased by his loving daughter Dorothea (Leonard) White and by his three loving brothers Joseph, Arthur, and Charles Leonard.
Frank is survived by his loving son Robert and his wife Helen, and their two daughters, SPC. Kimberly Leonard, Medic US Army, and Elizabeth Leonard, RN/BSN who provided loving care and assistance for Frank in their Billerica home for a period of over five years. Frank is also survived by his son Francis J. Leonard and his wife Louise of Aurora, Illinois and their children Brian Leonard and his wife Merril, Kristen Shah and her husband Premal, and Mark Leonard and his wife Chanda. Frank also leaves six great-grandchildren.
Frank Leonard was a strong, caring, and very much loved man who will be sadly missed by his family and friends. He will forever live on in our hearts and minds.
Robert and his family wish to thank the many doctors who provided not only care, but loving care over these past years, and would like to publically thank the nurses and staff at Woodbriar of Wilmington who provided special and tender care for Frank during his last days. God bless you all.
LEONARD -- Of Billerica, March 16, Francis R. Leonard, Funeral Thursday from the SWEENEY MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 66 Concord Rd., Billerica at 9 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Theresa Church at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends respectfully invited. Visiting hours will be held Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Make a Wish Foundation, One Bullfinch Place, Boston, MA 02114. Burial in Fox Hill Cemetery, Billerica. Funeral directors W.J. and Dean M. Laurendeau. www.sweeneymemorialfh.com
Sweeney Memorial Funeral Home Inc
66 Concord Road Billerica, MA 01821
Published in Lowell Sun on Mar. 18, 2014