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1934 - 2016
Edward Almand Leonard passed away Friday, March 11, 2016, at the age of 81, after being cared for with love and devotion by his wife, Mary Jane Leonard. Ed was born on Thursday, April 26th, 1934 in Atlanta, Georgia to Julia Almand Leonard and George Burr Leonard. He was the third of four children, amidst George Burr Jr., Julia, and Wesley Leonard. A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in El Paso, Texas, at Unitarian Universalist Community of El Paso. 4425 Byron St. El Paso, TX 79930. Ed earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at Emory University, and taught the subject with a fierce passion for decades. Former students often use words such as "captivating" and "entertaining" when speaking of Ed's classes. However, he enjoyed several jobs before settling on the role of professor: among the more interesting are a peach truck driver and a pilot at the age of sixteen. He performed in plays at Emory University, played the guitar and sang beautifully, and wrote fiction and non-fiction pieces. He published two books on one of his favorite topics: trains, titled, "Rails at the Pass of the North," and "Railroads and Highways at the Pass of the North: A Historical Survey." Ed was interested in everyone and their lives. He was charming and folksy in conversation, and was vastly entertaining. His brain worked at a faster speed than most, and that enabled him to take a genuine interest in every person he met. He still remained fascinated by almost everything, especially trains, music, the Beat Generation, and politics. He was an informed pacifist and a passionate activist, having worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta on the Civil Rights Movement and leading the West Texas campaign for Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign, including being delegate at that year's Democratic National Convention in New York City. An interesting aside was that he and Mary Jane were involved in (but not seriously hurt by) a train crash on the way home from the convention, tying two of his fascinations together. His dedication to justice for all served his thoughts and actions throughout his life. Ed's life was blessed with two marriages; he married Billie McKenzie in Atlanta, Georgia and they had two children together, David and Laura. He married Mary Jane Phillips in 1975, and with that marriage, his young stepdaughter Patricia came into his life. In 1984, Ed and Mary Jane had Katherine together. Ed and Mary Jane's marriage was filled with political activity, laughter, and friends, and they enjoyed each other's company immensely. Ed was preceded in death by his parents, his brother George, and sister Julia. Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Mary Jane Leonard, of El Paso; his son, David Leonard, and wife, Marita, of Austin; daughter, Laura Stiles, and husband, Craig, of Austin; daughter, Katy Leonard, of Pearland; stepdaughter, Patricia Adams, and five grandchildren; his beloved niece, Lisa Leonard Murphy, of Las Cruces; brother, Wesley, of Albuquerque, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews in Georgia, Arizona, Texas, and California. The family will receive visitors on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, with the funeral service beginning at 1:00 pm at Martin Funeral Home West (128 N. Resler Dr. in El Paso, Tx, 79912). The family wishes to thank Choice Hospice and friend Steve Perez for their excellent and compassionate care. Although Ed will be missed, his memory lives on with his family and friends. Memorial donations may be made to the El Paso Polly Harris Senior Center (650 Wallenburg Dr, El Paso, Tx, 79912, 915-581-9525). A lasting memorial will soon be available at Services entrusted to Martin Funeral Home West 128 N. Resler Dr. in El Paso, Tx, 79912
Published in El Paso Times from Mar. 14 to Mar. 21, 2016
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