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Obituary

Rotarian saw world as his service project

By JONATHAN MILTON
Published May 11, 2007


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From Nigeria to New Tampa, University of South Florida professor Bill Leonard was known as someone who tried to make the world a better place.

He died on May 3, 2007, at 94.

Mr. Leonard was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth Waugh, and siblings Jim, Nancy and Archie. He is survived by a daughter, Dr. Virginia Ewing, and a son, John Leonard, and three grandchildren: Philip, Charlie and Bobby Leonard.

Friends of the retired professor of economics and international studies remember Mr. Leonard for more than just his scholastic prowess.

Among other things, Mr. Leonard founded the Rotary Club in New Tampa in 1995, shortly after moving to Tampa Palms. He held the titles of district governor, presidential representative and Rotary zone coordinator, and he received distinguished service awards for his efforts.

Close to home, Mr. Leonard involved Rotary in a project to improve the appearance of the medians on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

"He wanted something that would bring the Rotary Club together, while at the same time improving the community, " said fellow Rotarian Doug Andrews. "At that time, we needed to all come together for a common cause."

Mr. Leonard's other ventures included a project that made small loans to farmers in Nigeria to improve their crops.

Mr. Leonard also volunteered his energies to the Rotary by traveling around the world to work on projects ranging from population and development to polio eradication.

Well past retirement age, Mr. Leonard remained active in the community. After living in Tampa Palms for a few years, Mr. Leonard and his wife moved to Sun City Center in the late 1990s, and he was active in the Rotary Club there until he died.

"My wife and I were in our 40s and he (Bill) and Betty were in their 80s, and we couldn't keep up with them, " said Andrews, who remembers traveling with Mr. Leonard to Bali.

Just a few years ago, "I remember him playing tennis, " said Herb Brown, a former Rotary president. "He was always full of energy."

Mr. Leonard leaves behind friends who span the globe and a wealth of accomplishments. To show their appreciation for Mr. Leonard's efforts, the Rotary named Rotary's Camp Florida assembly hall in Brandon after him and his wife.

"For some of us, our community is where we live, and maybe 10 or 15 miles around that, " Andrews said. "For Bill, his community was the world, and he really sought to make his world community a better place."

[Last modified May 10, 2007, 07:34:27]


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