• "I discovered this page in 2018, after reading a column of..."
    - Jonathan Greenberg
  • "I knew Bob in the 1960s, when his son David was a baby. How..."
    - Nancy Bancroft
  • "Bob's dedication to social justice and anti-racism is..."
    - Ellen Isaacs
  • "We just learned and are so saddened by the news of Bob's..."
    - Marcie Bensman-Massetti
  • "Bob was an inspiration to me and a mentor. I will always..."
    - Nelson Brill


Michael, died peacefully, with family, on April 6, of complications from amyloidosis. Bob was an adored husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was a lifelong teacher and, for a decade, the head of the French-American School of New York, in Westchester. Born in New York on November 8, 1943, to Esther and Rene Leonhardt, he developed enduring interests as a young man: languages and literature, especially French, as well as politics and family. He studied at Trinity, Choate, Harvard, Columbia and L'Ecole Normale Superieure. He became active in the 1960s and 1970s in the movements against racism and the Vietnam War. He spoke French as natives do, was fond of quoting La Fontaine's fables and listened to thousands of hours of jazz, often while cooking for family. He taught -- and made many friends -- at Horace Mann, Fieldston, Rodeph Sholom and the public schools in Mamaroneck and Newton, Mass. His years at FASNY were the greatest joy of his professional life. He and Joan Alexander Leonhardt were married for 47 years, a partnership that is a model for those around them. Their children -- Robin Peterson and her husband, Eric, of Denver; and David and his wife, Laura, of Bethesda, Md., -- were the center of Bob's life. He was also beloved by his five grandchildren, Jonah, Felix, Cordelia, Eva and Beatrix; his dear cousins, the Korzenik family, Caryl Pines Curry and her children, Eve and Roger; his siblings-in-law, Steve, Polly and Kathy; his nephews and nieces, Daisy, Jackson, Maria and Tyler; and his many friends. His life force carries on in them.

Published in The New York Times on Apr. 10, 2016