Bob Leonard, of Niles

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Feb. 26, 1925  —  March 29, 2014


Bob Leonard

Bob Leonard, 89, died peacefully with his family at his side. His last several weeks of life were filled with visits from a great many wonderful people. His face lit up as each visitor arrived. He enjoyed each one so much.

Bob grew up in North Dakota. He was graduated from Lisbon High School, and then served a tour of duty with the Unites States Army, being discharged as a veteran of World War II. He lived most of his life in Niles after falling in love with the beautiful Irish songstress, Maureen O’Toole. They married in June of 1951 and built their lives around family, church, and community. They raised nine children, and added nine more as their children were married. They later joyfully welcomed 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren into the family.

Bob served the church in a myriad of ways: Fundraising for building Saint Mary Elementary School, many years as an usher, 50 years as financial secretary of the Knights of Columbus Council #708, coordinating the K of C Tootsie Roll Drive for over 30 years; assisting in the building of the Saint Mary Community Center and consistently volunteering to help with whatever need arose.

Bob was employed at the party store at Drolet’s for many years, eventually owning and operating Bob’s B Bottle Store. In retirement, he was employed at the Niles Feed and Seed, and as a delivery agent for the local pharmacy.

Bob’s community work included serving as a coach for the Little League, several years as a trustee for Niles Charter Township and representative to the SMCAS board, a member of the B.P.O. of Niles Elks #1322 and secretary of the Friday Night Bowling league for 50 years.

He initiated joint projects between the K of Cs and the Niles Shrine Club including the annual Friendship Night dinner and golf outing. Through those efforts he was one of a select few non-Shriners to be awarded a “green fez.”

He also organized his own Bob’s B Bottle Golf Outing for 35 years or more, which contributed generously to local charities.

Bob is survived by his wife of 63 years, Maureen and their children, Beth (Don) Inks, Ann (Curt) Butts, Sheila (Doug) Morton, Becky (Dick) Scameheorn, Shane (Laura) Leonard, C.J. (Colleen) Leonard, Sue (Brian) Burks, and Tricia (Dan) Mentock; a daughter-in-law, Cheryl Leonard; his 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; and Bob’s sister, Sharon Richards, sister-in-law Patty Leonard, aunts Evelyn Hardebeck, Marge Turk, and Helen Thompson; several cousins, and scores of nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death his parents, Ross and Elizabeth, brothers, Don and Chuck and his son, Terry.

The family will greet friends and family at Saint Mary Catholic Church between 4 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, with recitation of The Rosary at 7:30 p.m. and attendance by the Knights of Columbus Color Corps.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 3, 2014, at Saint Mary Catholic Church, 203 S. Lincoln, Niles. The Rev. David Otto with the Rev. William P. Melody of Notre Dame, Ind., the Rev. Joe Richards of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Fertile, Minn. will be concelebrating, assisted by Deacon Roger Gregorski of Saint Mary.

Committal Rites will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Niles and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag Presentation and “Taps” by the United States Army Honor Guard. Arrangements were made at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles.

Interested donors may want to make memorial contributions to the Knights of Columbus Council #708 Mentally Impaired program, the charity supported by the Tootsie Roll drive Bob worked on so passionately.

It is impossible to give justice to the impact of Bob’s life in this brief missive. He had an uncanny ability to make each individual feel special. His friends included not only his contemporaries, but the friends of his children and grandchildren, whom he always welcomed with open arms and one of his famous bear hugs. He was well loved because he loved so very well.

We are blessed beyond measure to have had him in our lives and thank God for sharing him.