Hugh M., age 79, of North Haledon, died on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 in Ridgewood, NJ. Hugh was born in Paterson and lived in Paterson, NJ and El Paso, TX before moving to North Haledon. Hugh graduated from Seton Hall University in 1958. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960 and was stationed in Fort Bliss in Texas. In 1963 Hugh graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law. He served as a receiver and counsel in several major corporate reorganizations, including serving as receiver for the Greater Paterson General Hospital during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. In 1979, Hugh was one of ten United States Trustees appointed by the Attorney General of the United States to test a bankruptcy pilot program created by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. Until 1989, Hugh served as United States Trustee for New Jersey, Delaware, and later Pennsylvania when it became part of Region 3. During his tenure with the United States Department of Justice, Hugh also served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for United States Trustees. As United States Trustee for Region 3 he handled such cases as the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. and Sharon Steel in Erie, Pa. Hugh was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and received a Special Achievement Award for "Sustained Superior Performance of Duty" in his role as U.S. Trustee. He also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Dept. of Justice for his dedicated service to the U.S. Trustee Program during its national expansion. He was recognized nationally for the standards and procedures he developed for trustees around the country. Prior to retiring in 2004, Hugh headed the Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Department at Cole, Schotz, Meisel Forman & Leonard, PA. Hugh is a former President of the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter; former Chairman and Trustee of the Bankruptcy Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association; and former member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Courts. Hugh also served as a member of the Local Bankruptcy Rules Revision Committee. Hugh has been a founder, Master, Vice President and Trustee of the Bankruptcy Inn of Court. Hugh has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson and as an executive board member of the Bergen County Boy Scouts Association. Hugh was associated with the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education for over 30 years and developed, coordinated and participated in innumerable seminars on insolvency law. Hugh was the recipient of the Alfred C. Clapp Award in 1998 for excellence in legal education. He coauthored the Basic Bankruptcy Skills Manual and several re-publications since 1970. He was the editor of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Manual, First Edition. Hugh has participated in numerous lectures for professional organizations and has contributed articles to New Jersey Lawyer and other publications. Hugh was an honorable man and a man of his word. He acted in the interest of what was right and fair. He brought out the best in people. He treated people with dignity and humanity. He brought joy to those who met him with his humor, grace, and ability to ease minds and lift spirits. He was a natural athlete, a master with a rapidograph pen, and a person with whom so many would want to spend their time.
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He is survived by his wife Norma and his daughter Nicole of Manhattan. He is also survived by his brothers: James, John and George Leonard. He was predeceased by his parents Isabel and John Leonard and his brother Eugene Leonard.
Visiting hours are Tuesday 5 - 9 PM at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home, www.vpfh.com, 257 Godwin Ave. Wyckoff, NJ. Funeral Mass is Wednesday at 12 PM at the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 787 Franklin Lakes Road, Franklin Lakes, NJ. Interment will follow at the Christ the King Cemetery in Franklin Lakes. In lieu of flowers donations may be made "In Memory of Hugh M. Leonard" to the Valley Hospital Foundation, 223 N. Van Dien Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ 07450 or Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 787 Franklin Lakes Road, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417.
Vander Plaat Funeral Home
257 Godwin Avenue
Wyckoff, NJ 07481
Published in The Record on Aug. 31, 2014