James G. Leonard, 87, of Mendota passed away the evening of Aug. 10, 2019, at Heritage Healthcare Center in Mendota, surrounded by family.
A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Mary’s Church, Utica with Monsignor James Swaner officiating and the Rev. Michael Driscoll concelebrating. Burial will follow at St. Theresa’s Cemetery, Earlville.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Monday at Mueller Funeral Home, Peru with an honor guard provided by the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus. Recital of the rosary will be at 3:45 p.m. Additional visitation will be 10:30-10:50 a.m. Tuesday at the church.
Mr. Leonard was born Nov. 2, 1931, in Mendota to James Graham and Esther (Trattner) Leonard. He was a graduate of Earlville High School and went on to take several continuing education courses for agriculture at Illinois Valley Community College. He married Mary Jo Malach on Sept. 1, 1952. After her passing, he married Sandra Lee Diedrich on Dec. 15, 1979. James enjoyed hunting and shooting trap and sporting clays. He enjoyed farming for 70 years and always said, “I never went to work a day in my life, I went to play farm.”
Mr. Leonard was a member of St. Mary’s Church, Utica; Illinois Farm Bureau and Elks Lodge 1212. He was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus, 4th Degree; as well as the Loyal Order of Moose.
He is survived by his children, Mary Therese (Tom) Heitmann of Mendota, Rose Tillman of Earlville, J. Graham (Patti) Leonard of Raleigh, N.C., Martin (Rita) Leonard of Mendota and Lambert (Karen) Leonard of Mendota; one stepdaughter, Deena Riva of Mendota; two stepsons, Tony Riva of LaMoille and Mark Riva; 17 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; one brother, Mike (Judy) Leonard of Fresno, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Jo on Sept. 1, 1973; his second wife, Sandra Lee on Jan. 10, 2004; two brothers, Joseph Leonard in infancy and Rudy Leonard; one grandson, Capt. Thomas J. Heitmann; one great-grandson, Bosco Benvenga and one son-in-law, Joe Tillman.
Pallbearers will be grandsons, Aaron Heitmann, Joseph Tillman, Jim Leonard, Ryan Leonard, Chris Leonard, Jacob Leonard and Andrew Leonard.
Memorials may be directed to Stonecroft Village or the Capt. Thomas J. Heitmann Track at St. Bede Academy.
The online guestbook may be viewed and remembrances shared at www.MuellerFH.com.