1924 - 2012
George Ludwig Leonhard Jr. passed away quietly in his sleep at home in Phuket, Thailand, on Aug. 27, 2012, at the age of 87. He was born Nov. 5, 1924, in Hollywood, Calif., to George Leonhard and Effie Leola (Shultz) Leonhard. He was the grandson of Baronness Margaretha Juliana Anna d’Ablaing Van Giessenburg and Frederick Leonhard, early pioneers of Ellensburg, Wash., who donated land to what became Central Washington University.
George’s father was a member of the Washington State National Guard and fought in World War I. George Jr. and his brother, Keith, survived the Great Depression by moving from place to place, including his grandfather Shultz’s small farm in San Jacinto, Calif.
At the age of 13, he joined the Boy Scouts, serving as a patrol leader, Scout master, mate and skipper and attained the rank of Eagle. He joined the Merchant Marines during World War II with tours in Asia and Africa, and then settled back in California. In 1946, he married Rubye Hannah Holmes, a marriage that would thrive for 58 years until her death. He worked in various jobs while attending college at UCLA, where he earned his Associate Arts degree. He left school so Rubye could graduate with a degree in education. After she began working, he completed his bachelor’s degree in math from Long Beach State, and subsequently taught math at a school for the gifted.
He was also a chemist at Morris P. Kirk & Company. In 1951, he began a fulfilling career of over 40 years with the Boy Scouts, an organization he believed in. He worked for several councils in California. His first chief executive position was with the Ft. Simcoe Council in Yakima in 1964. He retired as chief scout executive of the Mt. Rainier Council in Tacoma. He was an active member of Rotary. George was a devout Presbyterian, being a member of Cypress Park in Los Angeles in his youth, an elder at Shepherd of the Hill in Puyallup, Wash., and later, a member of Evergreen Presbyterian in Graham, Wash.
George loved to share stories of his life, his ancestry and theories of learning and teaching. He enjoyed gardening. After retirement and a few years working as a Realtor, George and Rubye moved to Walla Walla to live closer to their youngest son, Brent. In recent years, he lived with his oldest son, Woody, in Phuket.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rubye, who passed away in 2004; a son, Todd; and brother, Keith. George is survived by sons, Gregory “Woody”, Scott, Corey, Dustin and Matthew Brent Leonhard; daughters, Trudy Leonhard and Lisa Chappa; grandsons, Justin and Andy Leonhard, and Andres Chappa; granddaughters, Nicole Riehle, Christina Melief, Lindsay Leonhard (Armstrong) and Megan Leonhard, Catherine and Hannah Leonhard, Alyssa and Alana Rosler, Rubye Chappa, Mya Leonhard, Zoe and Genevieve Leonhard; great-grandchildren, Jacob Melief, Natalie Riehle, Angel Leonhard, and Gilbert Armstrong.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, at Pioneer Methodist Church in Walla Walla. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made, in George’s name, to the Boy Scouts of America, Pacific Harbor Council, 4802 S. 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98405.