Henry Louis Leonardi, age 84 , passed away at home on October 25, 2019. He is survived by Susan Baysinger Leonardi, his wife of 61 years, his sons Vincent, Peter, Steven, and his daughter Elaine, and his six grandchildren, Isabella, Marissa, Garrett, Holly, Rachel, and Dante, who will miss him in immeasurable ways.
Henry was born on August 20, 1935 at the Cottage Hospital in San Rafael. After attending St. Raphael’s grammar school he was a member of the first graduating class to go all of the way through Marin Catholic. Graduating in 1953.
At this point it was Henry’s desire to serve his country so he joined the Navy at 17 and served on the USS Tortuga. Making 13 trips across the Pacific Ocean and participating in “Operation Passage to Freedom” in South Vietnam.
After returning home from his military service Henry continued his education. Earning a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nevada at Reno. Having completed his education he returned home to assist his father in operating his electrical contracting business, L.H. Leonardi Electric Const. Co. The business performed all manner of electrical repairs and installations but their specialty was highway lighting and traffic signals. Henry served as President and ran the company until it’s closure in 1977.
After running the electrical company for 15 years Henry decided he wanted to take his working life in a different direction. So he closed down the electric company and focused his efforts on property management and property development. Henry was directly responsible for the success and growth of the property management company that was realized over the many years under his administration. He designed and oversaw the construction of many properties for himself and the corporation. Eventually branching out and extending the companies influence to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Henry loved many things. His family was one of the most important to him. He tried to give his children a broad perspective towards life. He did this through one of his other loves, travel. Henry loved the open road and the possibilities and adventures that lie ahead at the start of every trip.
He began with driving trips, first Canada, then they got a trailer and continued exploring the western United States. Visiting National Parks, Monuments, and historically relevant places of interest were all favorite’s of Henry’s as he and his wife Susan were devoted history buffs. Later on the trailer was traded for a motorhome and extended the families range out over more of the country Henry loved. The children will always be grateful to Henry for affording them this perspective of seeing so many different peoples and cities as to expand their view of this country as a whole, whilst teaching them about history and the how and why of this countries development.
For the longer trips, Henry opted to down size to a car and made several cross country trips with the family to Florida and historical sites on the eastern seaboard. Later, Henry and Susan would fly back east then retrace historical routes through the South and Northeast, also visiting the birthplaces of their favorite people.
Not one to sit idle for very long, Henry introduced his children to backpacking and his love for the outdoors. Henry and his children cut their respective backpacking teeth out at Point Reyes National Seashore. Definitely one of Henry’s favorite places to relax and unwind. Henry completed the NaPali Coast hike three times with his children. They also spent the night in the Haleakala Volcano and returned via the Kaupo trail. No easy feat for a man of his age at the time.
If Henry’s first passion was travel his second was definitely flying. Henry received his first pilot’s license after he returned from his service to his country. But four children and a business required he postpone his second passion until the last was off to college. Then Henry picked backed up the controls and flew regularly for many years. We truly believe that is where Henry felt at peace. When he was in the air, with the entire world below him. No phones, no problems, just clean air and a flight plan.
His friends and family will always remember Henry as a truly honest man who’s integrity was his lantern. It’s light showing the way as he navigated the swift eddies and turbulent air that sometimes finds it way into our lives.
A mass for Henry will be held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church on Saturday the 16th of November at 12:00pm. A memorial service will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery at 1:30pm.
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