Cover photo for Robert Leonard's Obituary
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1924 Robert 2015

Robert Leonard

May 25, 1924 — May 5, 2015

A reception celebrating Robert "Joe" Leonard's life will be held on Thursday, July 23, 2015 from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm at The Liberty, 312 North Virginia, Roswell, New Mexico. A private family graveside service will be held later this summer.

Robert Joseph Leonard ("Joe"), 90, of Roswell, NM passed away at his home on May 5, 2015 after a lengthy illness. He was born in Los Angeles, California on May 25, 1924, the eldest child of Harry and Mable Leonard. Raised in Roswell, Joe attended high school at New Mexico Military Institute. Following graduation in 1942, he attended one year of junior college at NMMI before the vast majority of his class was inducted into the US Army. He enrolled in Office Candidate School in 1943 at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. After graduating from OCS, he was called to active duty in 1944 and served in the Philippines as a First Lieutenant in the military police. On August 26, 1944, prior to going overseas, he married his childhood sweetheart, Marion Madison, in Ft. Riley, Kansas. Joe was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946 and served in the Air Force Reserves from 1950 - 1955. He, along with his NMMI classmates, were honored at a special ceremony in 1984 during which they received their Junior College degrees.

Following his Army discharge, Joe attended Colorado School of Mines studying geology and engineering. Never a fan of cold weather, Joe transferred to The University of New Mexico and graduated with a degree in geology in 1950. After graduation, he and Marion returned to Roswell to raise their four children. Joe became President of Leonard Oil Company and pursued an active career as an independent oil and gas operator in Southeast New Mexico.

While pursuing his career in the oil and gas business, he became involved in golf, flying, bird hunting with his sons and traveling with Marion. Joe also got involved in politics, was elected as a Republican Representative to the New Mexico Legislature in 1962 and launched an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor during the Goldwater debacle of 1964.

He was very active in civic and professional organizations, having served as President and Director of The Roswell Chamber of Commerce, Charter Director of The Security National Bank of Roswell, Director of The Independent Petroleum Association of America and President of the New Mexico Landmen's Association. He was also very involved with St. Andrews Episcopal Church, serving on the vestry and teaching Sunday School.

Joe and his two brothers, Pat and Tim, sold Leonard Oil Company to Tenneco in 1965, and Joe continued in the oil business until the time of his death.

In the mid-1960's Joe and Marion moved to La Jolla, California and then to Tucson, Arizona to address Marion's health issues. For many years he devoted himself to her care and comfort. They returned to Roswell in the late 1980's. Marion passed away on October 29, 1999 after a long struggle with rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Joe married Jody Smith in 2006. They enjoyed their time together immensely. They also enjoyed time spent with family and friends and taking wonderful trips around Canada, the United States and abroad.

Joe was a wonderful husband and father who set a fine example for his children and all who knew him with his honesty, integrity, kindness and generosity. He was a talented conversationalist and story teller with a warm smile and wonderful sense of humor. He possessed a great deal of gratitude for his life and all he had, especially his family and friends, and he exhibited a great deal of generosity and compassion for those less fortunate.

Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Marion; his son, Steve and his brothers, Pat and Tim. He is survived by his wife, Jody; his son Kelly and wife, Kathy of Midland; his son, Dan and wife, Elizabeth of Midland and his daughter, Lisa of Boulder, Colorado. Papa Joe, as he was affectionately known, is also survived by eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The family would like to express special thanks to Jody for her outstanding and loving care of Joe during his last years. We extend thanks to his caregivers, Lupe Portillo and Maria Palida; Hospice nurses, Quita Murrajo and Glen Shelton; and the entire Hospice staff for the wonderful care they provided to make Joe's last years comfortable. We also thank Julie Adams for her assistance and constant support for Joe.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to The Assurance Home of Roswell, 1000 East 18th Street, Roswell, New Mexico 88201; Gentiva Hospice, 400 N. Pennsylvania, Suite 500, Roswell, New Mexico 88201; or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the personal care of LaGrone Funeral Chapel.
Online condolences may be made at www.lagronefuneralchapel.com

Visitation


The Liberty
312 N Virginia
Roswell, NM  88203
Thursday, July 23, 2015
12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Leonard, please visit our flower store.

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