Richard “Rick” Leonard, 57, of Ottawa, went home to be with Our Lord on July 16, 2021.
Mass of Christian burial will be held on Wednesday, July 21, at 11:00 am at St. Columba Church with Rev. David Kipfer officiating. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 20, from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Ottawa Funeral Home. A rosary service with the Knights of Columbus will take place at 4:00 pm. Burial will follow the funeral service on Wednesday at St. Columba Cemetery.
He was born on May 25,1964 in Ottawa to Donald Jr. and Karen (Barry) Leonard. He graduated from Ottawa High School in 1982 and was a member of the National Honor Society, ROTC, and played freshman football. He earned an Associate of Science degree in Computer Science from IVCC. He then attended the University of Illinois and completed a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1991 before finally earning a Juris Doctor of Law from Northern Illinois University in 1994. He fulfilled his dream of living in Chicago as he began his legal career as an attorney for the Social Security Administration. He then returned to Ottawa and spent the last 22 years as an Appellate Prosecutor for the State of Illinois. He was a member of the Illinois Bar Association, the Knights of Columbus, and a lifelong parishioner of St. Columba Catholic Church.
He is survived by his parents, Karen and Donald Leonard Jr. of Ottawa; his brothers, Ron Leonard and Bryan (Carrie) Leonard; his sister, Kayla Leonard; his nephews, Justin (Alanah) Leonard, Jacob (Katie) Leonard, Collin Leonard (godson) and Aiden Leonard; his niece, Maddy Leonard; his great-nieces, Paisley and Maren Leonard; and his great-nephew Declan Leonard. He is also dearly remembered by his aunt and godmother, Sharon Barry; his cousins, David (Kathy) Pool, Alison Pool, Pam (Chris) Rausch, Nicole Rausch, Lindsey (Tyler) and Willow Christopherson, Paul (Peggy), Michael, and Catherine Neilsen; his godchildren, Max, Luke, Zachary, Elizabeth, and Theodore Hand, and many friends and co-workers.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Sue and Richard Barry; his paternal grandparents, Rose and Donald Leonard, Sr.; his aunt, Sandi (Paul) Neilsen; and his very dear friend Kathryn Hand.
Pallbearers will Ron Leonard, David Pool, Chris Rausch, Bryan Leonard, Justin Leonard, Jacob Leonard, Collin Leonard, and Aiden Leonard.
At the age of 15, Richard suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic and in a wheelchair for the last 42 years. He was still able to accomplish so many amazing things throughout his life and career. He loved God and his family above all else. He cherished the times spent with his family even if it was just to watch a Cubs game, a Nascar race, or his nephews’ baseball games. Through all of his suffering he never complained and always, always thought of others before himself. He was very dedicated to his Catholic faith. His daily rituals often included praying the rosary for the intentions of his family and friends. He enjoyed praying with Mother Angelica on EWTN and faithfully attended Catholic Mass throughout his life. You could always depend on him to pray for you and be the cornerstone of faith among his family and friends. Richard had a deep appreciation and love for his parents who selflessly dedicated their lives to provide him with the best care imaginable so he could live so many years longer than the doctors said was possible. We will miss him immensely at our family gatherings, at church, and especially at the kitchen table sharing a cup of tea or glass of wine. Most of all, we will miss his companionship and constant reminder to love one another and always have faith in God. He had so much life and love yet to give and he pushed on until the very last day. The only comfort for our grieving hearts is knowing that he is finally at peace and walking with his Savior, Jesus Christ. Our hearts ache beyond measure to let him go, but we know that he was weary and needed the comfort of God’s loving arms. Until we meet again, “Night, night Richard”.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) or St. Columba Church.
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