James Harold Leonard
May 31, 1920-February 5, 2019
James Harold Leonard was born in Tulare on May 31, 1920 to James Washington Leonard and Peralee Berry Leonard. James Harold Leonard was a sixth generation American whose parents and sister moved to California from Hawkins County Tennessee in the early 1900s. James passed away at his home on Laura Lane on February 5, 2019 at the age of 98.
James was a graduate of Tulare High School, Visalia Junior College, Fresno City College and the California Institute of Technology. His ancestors - who included a Hessian mercenary - fought in the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War. James was a WWII veteran and served as a captain in the Air Force on the Island of Adak in Alaska for 4 years during the war as a meteorologist supporting the air campaign in Asia.
James contributed greatly to the local community. Hanford and the Valley are a better place due to his many contributions that included the School Board, the Hanford Library, the YMCA, the Kings County Recorder Society, the American Baptist Seminary of the West, the Sierra Club, the Hanford First Baptist Church, PBS public television, and Fresno State University. He worked at Beacon Oil for 34 years and retired as the Vice President of Refining. He continued to contribute to the community during his retirement in addition to traveling and researching his family's genealogy.
James was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Jean Emrietta Heerwald Leonard; son James Paul Leonard; and sister, Vena Clarice Halbert. He is survived by his son David Heerwald Leonard of Honolulu, Hawaii; granddaughters, Alexis Clarice Leonard of Asheville, North Carolina and Adrienne Anne Leonard of Ventura, California; daughter-in-law, Anne Bayley Thrower Leonard of Visalia; and his many kinfolk in his ancestral home of East Tennessee.
The memorial service for James Harold Leonard will be held Tuesday, March 12th, at 3 pm at the Hanford First Baptist Church on 13½ Avenue.