James C. Leonard, age 86, of Niantic, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2018, at NCH Baker Hospital in Naples, Florida.
He was born December 5, 1931, in Macon County to John Curtis and Rose (Delaney) Leonard. Jim grew up on the family farm in Niantic, along with four brothers and a sister.
He graduated from Niantic High School, where he met Marilyn Romer. Jim and Marilyn married on July 31, 1952. Together they raised three sons and two daughters and became active members of the Illiopolis and Niantic communities.
Though working long hours to build a farm, Jim always had time to be an important part of his children's lives. Each has fond memories of the time spent with Jim working on their 4-H projects and showing livestock. His love of sports was passed on to his children, and he was always the proudest parent cheering on the sidelines. He instilled in each family values and work ethics, which have served them throughout their lives. When the next generation came along, he cherished watching six grandsons grow into young men.
He enjoyed playing cards and bingo, and following the St. Louis Cardinals and the
Golden State Warriors. During retirement, Jim and Marilyn spent winters at their home in Bonita Springs, Florida, where Jim became an avid shuffleboard player. Marilyn passed away in 2012 following 59 years of marriage.
He was also preceded in death by his parents, John Curtis and Rose (Delaney), and brothers Eugene, Richard, John and Russell.
He is survived by five children: Stephen (Jill) Leonard of Niantic, Mark (Colleen) Leonard of Woodstock, Ronald (Sally) Leonard of Illiopolis, Janet (Craig) Kararo of Springfield and Judith (David) Gray of Decatur; six grandchildren, Sean (Melissa) Leonard, Ryan (Rachel) Leonard, Timothy Leonard, Eric Leonard, Alexander Kararo and Evan Kararo; his sister, Rose; and numerous nieces and nephews.
His warm heart and dry humor will be sorely missed, but fondly remembered.
Visitation: Family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 7, at
Fullenwider-Park Funeral Home, 432 Seventh St., Illiopolis.
Funeral Ceremony: 11 a.m. Thursday, February 8, at Fullenwider-Park Funeral Home, 432 Seventh St., Illiopolis.
Friends may make donations to Visitation Parish of Illiopolis or the Illiopolis Public Library in lieu of flowers.