Daniel J. Leonard
1940 - 2020
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Daniel J. Leonard Charleston - Daniel Joseph Leonard, a teacher to thousands, a mentor, friend, and role model to many, died July 14, 2020, at Summerville Community Hospice. He was 80. Born March 3, 1940 in Waynesville, NC to Patrick Joseph and Coralie Bolton Leonard, Dan was a recognized expert in the field of music education, having taught and directed bands of all levels: elementary, junior high, high school and college. He dearly loved to teach and had a passion for seeing young people learn and excel. Dan attended James Island High School and briefly attended University of Arizona on an oboe scholarship. He then served in the U.S. Marine Corps and had the distinction of setting the all-time physical fitness test record at Parris Island, scoring 498 out of 500 points. Returning to Charleston, he began to play professionally and teach at the Leonard School of Music, which his father had founded in 1945. In 1972, he took over LSM as his father retired. From 1965 to through 1983, concert bands and jazz ensembles under his direction received superior ratings in state competitions and rated the highest in the state. He directed the Leonard Studio Band and Jazz Ensemble for 12 years and in that time, these 2 bands recorded 11 records, toured the Southeastern United States and performed professionally. In 1979 and 1981, he directed the American Jazz Ensemble and the American Youth Woodwind Jazz Ensemble respectively. Both of these bands toured Europe, recorded an album, and performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, with the latter also performing at the International Jazz Festival. Dan moved to Texas in 1984, giving clinics in the Southwest based on his book, "Building Confidence Through Sight Reading." He then began to teach in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, supervising 28 schools. From those schools, The Leonard Music Institute of Texas, Inc. was started. He finally moved back to Charleston in 1996, after having built that program up to 1,027 students. Subsequently, LSM was reopened in 1997. In 2000, after battling cancer for 2 years and facing death twice, Dan rode his bicycle from Santa Monica, CA to Folly Beach, SC for cancer awareness. That same year, he was presented the Humanitarian Award (Societe Francaise De Bienfaisance Medaille D'Honneur) from the French Society of Charleston, SC. In 2010, at the age of 70, he completed another cross-country ride on his bicycle for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, celebrating his 10th year of being clear of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In June of 2010, he was given the Key To The City of Folly Beach. Be it resolved that R. Keith Summey, Mayor of North Charleston, proclaimed May 23, 2015 as Mr. Dan Leonard Day. This date is also important in that it marks the 70th Anniversary of the Leonard School of Music, which was recognized by the Charleston County Council as well as the U.S. Congress, being inserted into the Congressional Record (Vol.161, No. 79) by Senator Tim Scott. Dan and his father, Patrick, were both inducted into the Lowcountry Music Hall of Fame later that year on October 25th. The Leonard School of Music was folded into the Jazz Artists of Charleston in 2017 but Dan continued to teach music classes as well as private lessons in area schools up until this past February. He is survived by his sister, Patricia Stockdale Howard and 3 sons: Daniel Joseph O'Lannerghty, Patrick William Leonard and Sean Austin Leonard. A celebration of his life will happen, but due to COVID-19 and its limitations on public gatherings, it will be scheduled at a later time. Any notices regarding this will be published on the Leonard School of Music Alumni page on Facebook and in Charleston's Post and Courier. Online condolences may be offered at www.CharlestonFunerals.com Arrangements by JAMES A. MCALISTER, Inc. (843) 766-1365. Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/ charleston

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Published in Charleston Post & Courier from Jul. 18 to Jul. 19, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
August 12, 2020
Mr. Leonard was a good man and really pushed my son to do his best. He told it like it was! We had some great conversations about music-he was a special guy. The music world won't be the same without him!!!
Dori Hooks
Acquaintance
August 11, 2020
As the words say he was a great instructor of music. But he was also a great friend and teacher of other things like water skying. He lead the John's Island band to trips that will forever be in my memory. I am so so sorry to see him go. What a great friend.
Larry Lee
Student
July 31, 2020
Teacher, boss, friend. He was all of those and more. There are so many people who's lives he touched and made such a huge impact. He's going to be missed by a lot of people, including me. Goodbye, Danny.
Reynolds w Rigney
Friend
July 24, 2020
Thanksgiving at Patsy & Bill's home - 2019
Danny was my music teacher and best friend for almost sixty years. There's a lot of stories to tell. His passing still seems unreal. Even though we lived in different cities, we use to talk a least once a week. Danny had a great heart. I will miss him. Rest in peace Danny.
Glenn Dennis
Friend
July 21, 2020
Danny was my clarinet teacher and taught me how to twirl a baton. Danny was always there for all of us kids. He was a great friend to all of us. I have seen Danny a few times since graduating James Island High School in 1965. Danny has a long list of students who thought a lot of him. My office is next door to a young lady in elementary school who said Danny was also her teacher. Danny was like the energizer bunny - he kept going. He will be greatly missed.
My thoughts are with his family.
Kay Geiger Shealy
Kay Shealy
July 20, 2020
Danny was bigger than life to all of his students not only as a teacher and mentor but also as a life coach! My father had a major heart attack and could no longer work and I explained to Mr. Leonard that I could not continue to attend his school due to finances. He looked at me and said Dont worry about paying for your lessons, I want you in my bands! I will never forget his HEART !!! He lived his life with a passion that drew everyone into his music world and will always be remembered as a HERO to me and so many others who have gone on to successful careers in music!
George Murray
Student
July 17, 2020
Our son, Jonathan Kennedy, was a student at Leonard School of Music for many years. Mr. Leonards kindness and faith were two of the attributes that we most noticed by our family. And his honesty! The first song learned and preformed by all the new students was- Lets Go Band! It was the very first concert of the year and the kids started off terribly and Mr. Leonard just stopped the concert and yelled- STOP! ! That sounded like a train wreck! Lets start again. (And it honestly did sound like a train wreck!!) Everyone laughed and was immediately put at ease. The kids did start over and it was simply beautiful! We still laugh about it to this day!! Mr. Leonard was a great man of music, integrity, honesty, kindness, and his faith. May God comfort your family at this time. I know He is still making beautiful music in Heaven. Sincerely, Mary Kennedy
Mary Kennedy
Acquaintance
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