OBITUARY

Jay Thomas Leonard

February 12, 1941October 9, 2014
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Jay Thomas “Tom/JT” Leonard, 73, of Barefoot Beach, Florida, passed away on October 9th 2014.

Tom was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on February 12th, 1941 to Arthur Jaquette Leonard and Lee Elmo Smith Leonard. He graduated from Las Lomas High School in 1959 and received his B.S. in Biology from University of California Davis where he was captain of the football and wrestling teams, president of his college class, a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and an ROTC officer. Following college, Tom served his country as an officer in the Army (219 Aviation Co.) and flew multiple missions in Vietnam in 1965-66. He was a decorated pilot, receiving an award for bravery (Distinguished Flying Cross and Seventh Oak Leaf Cluster) and he achieved the rank of Captain before returning to civilian life in June 1966. His first career was as a pilot for Braniff International, which drew him to Texas to pursue his love of aviation and raise a family. In his spare time, he obtained his real estate broker’s license and became a cattle rancher. In 1984, he continued his career in aviation – both as a Captain on the L1011 and in management with American Trans Air (Indianapolis).

On February 14th, 1991, Tom married Linda Praim Evans in Indiana. Tom and Linda flew around the world together for a number of years until his retirement in 2001. Shortly thereafter, they chose “another sunny day on the beach” as a place to enjoy their retirement, family and friends.

Tom had a passion for the outdoors, and when he was not flying or traveling the world he was hunting, fishing, boating, golfing, reading or enjoying his family’s constant news and events.

He is survived by his first wife Kathryn Hanson Leonard, daughters Laure Leonard Bolla (Michael Wade Bolla) and Julianne Leonard Ward (Don Allen Ward) and his grandchildren Michael Thomas Bolla, Erica Taylor Bolla, Emilee Morgan Ward, Grace Kathryn Ward, Hannah Louise Ward, his wife Linda P. Leonard and her children Richard Evans (Chelsea) and Kristin Rodil (José), and their children, Ashlee Evans, Kelsee Tucker (Jordan), Keiler Rodil, Kadyn and Drake Washington. He is also survived by his older brother Donald Leonard (Barbara) and their children; Scott, Marc, Meghan, and Jeff Leonard as well as their families.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm, October 26th, 2014, at Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Collier County American Heart Association.

Services

  • Celebration of Life

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

Memories

Jay Thomas Leonard

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Dave Miller

December 3, 2014

I never had the pleasure of meeting Tom but after reading his obituary, I wish that I had had the opportunity to get to know him. He was obviously a very accomplished, well-respected and much-loved man. Fly high, Tom.

Dave Miller, HH45, 68-69, 219th RAC "Headhunters"

Roger Smith

October 27, 2014

My cousin Tom had a large personality. What a fun guy! When he was doing his initial training with Braniff, he stayed with our family for a while. I was in high school at the time, and Tom's influence started me planning for a career in aviation. After 42 years of flying, I can honestly say he was one of the major factors in my career, and my life. I'll always be grateful to Tom, and will remember him fondly. Godspeed!

John & Linda Withner

October 24, 2014

I was sad to hear of Bubba's passing but it also brought back such wonderful memories! Tom was a larger than life person who was great to work with and was always willing to help others. His kindness was infectious and he certainly had a way with kids too. One of my sons, when he was three years old, always enjoyed seeing Tom and even had his own name for him; Hubba Bubba. And I will never forget Tom talking about his size by simply describing how “it provided shade in the summer and warmth in the winter to the ones he loved”…classic Bubba.

Our loss is Heavens gain and I look forward to the day that I see him again.

Our sincere condolences go out to Linda, Rich and the rest of the family.

Pete Keys

October 23, 2014

In a way, Tom's passing represents the end of an era. His love of ATA and its people was boundless, making him a cornerstone of our airline. For me he was more than just a fine boss, but a personal and professional mentor. Fair winds and blue skies, Tom!

Bruce Jacobs

October 23, 2014

What can I say, Tom showed remarkably good judgement…he hired me in April of 1990. Not only was he always supportive, he actually seemed to thrive on the opportunity to help whenever you came to him with a problem. I'll miss him.

Beth Schoppaul

October 22, 2014

Tom was never far from my thoughts as I worked with him for many years at ATA in the training department. He gave me my start in the most enjoyable job I will ever have as a F/E check airman. He believed in me and may have even gotten some pushback for hiring a woman where there weren't many. I could tell that he had daughters by the way he always treated me with respect. He always spoke about his daughters and Linda with such love and, knowing Tom, I'm sure they know how much he cared. Thanks Tom for being such a great mentor, I hope I didn't let you down.

Bill Tatum

October 22, 2014

Tom and I met Dec 1966 at Braniff. After the bankruptcy, we lost contact. I found out that we lived close to each other in Bonita Springs. We played golf and had several lunches together. What a great guy. He will be missed. I am sorry for your loss

Bill Tatum Brooksville Fl

Richard Ziskind

October 22, 2014

I worked with Tom at ATA for 14 years. He was a great guy, true gentleman, and professional aviator. He always took the time to chat with me and we always had a laugh. Tom, you will be missed,

Ed Purdy

October 20, 2014

Ed and Tom

Ed and Julie Purdy

October 20, 2014

Tom was a great friend, honest, fair and truly loved by our family. Ed's best fishing buddy. Ed looked forward to our trips to Florida and being with Tom. Ed an I have been friends with Tom and Linda for many years an always looked forward to see them and enjoy dinner and a few of Tom's jokes, laughs and hugs. He was truly special and we will miss him.

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