James J. Leonard, Jr. took his last breath at home, surrounded by his family, on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at the age of 81. Jim was also born on a Saturday – on January 13, 1940 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Ann and Jim Leonard.
After several moves, the family settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where Jim attended Mannheim Township High School. He proved to be a tremendous athlete, starring in football, basketball and baseball, earning the opportunity to play both football and baseball at Brown University. In his Senior year at Brown, Jim was the Captain of the baseball team.
He was also an exceptional student, graduating Cum Laude from Brown in 1962, and was admitted to The Law School at the University of Notre Dame. The love of his life, Sue Ann Coumbe, became Sue Ann Leonard in 1963 and joined Jim in South Bend where they lived in married student housing, Jim played full-contact intramural football and where they welcomed their first two children, Debbie and Mike, before his graduation in 1965.
As they were heading West, destined for Los Angeles, they stopped in Phoenix for a job interview and never left. Jim was admitted to the Arizona Bar in 1966 and practiced for nearly five decades, most of them with his law partner and best friend Ken Clancy. He took tremendous pride in representing injured victims of medical negligence, particularly birth-injured children. His was a remarkable and accomplished career with record-setting verdicts both locally and in multiple other States across the nation.
Jim Leonard was known to be kind, generous, a devout Catholic and, above all else, a family man. After his family, he took the most pride in helping others. He was a professional mentor to other attorneys, a lecturer at professional conventions, a coach in youth sports, a selfless father and grandfather and a volunteer delivery driver for the St. Vincent DePaul.
Jim is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sue Ann Leonard, sister Judy Gerboth, children Mike (Cheresa), Amy Cisowski (Steve), Brian (Amy), Sean and son-in-law Tom Wood (Kathy). He is also survived by his grandchildren Max Wood (Courtney), Jack Wood, Courtney Webster (Roland), Casey Vogt, Conor Leonard, Reagan Leonard, Taylor Leonard, Matthew Leonard, Patrick Leonard, Bella Leonard and great-granddaughter Chandler Wood. He is also survived by nephews Mark Gerboth (Laurie) and Tucker Coumbe, and nieces Wendy Gerboth and Amanda Bothwell. He was pre-deceased by his daughter Debbie Wood and son Kevin Leonard.
He truly was a man for others. We are immensely proud to call him our husband, father and friend.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N Central Avenue, Phoenix on Monday, March 1, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. to which all are welcome to attend with a mask and/or other personal protection safeguards. The Mass will also be livestreamed at https://sfxphx.org/livestream
Although it is not specifically requested nor expected, those wishing to make donations in Jim’s honor are encouraged to donate to the St. Vincent DePaul. Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com