CMDR Charles A. “Chuck” Leonard Jr. USNR (Ret.), 95, of Newport, RI, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, November 22, 2013. He was a loving husband to Eileen Sullivan Leonard. They had just celebrated their 68th Wedding Anniversary on November 8, 2013.
Born in Newport, RI, on April 4, 1918, son of the late Lt. CMDR Charles A. Leonard USN (Ret.) and Mary Millington Leonard. He graduated from De La Salle Academy in 1938. He furthered his education at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on a football scholarship. In 1940 he was signed by the Green Bay Packers then placed on active duty October of 1940 ending his short professional football career.
In July 1941 he was commissioned and received his Naval Aviator Wings. Following further flight training he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the Pacific Theatre. They participated in the hunt for the Japanese Fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He flew in multiple battles including Midway.
He was then transferred to CVE Suwannee and fought in the Battle of Casablanca in North Africa. The ship was then repositioned to the Pacific for the remainder of the War. He earned the status of Naval Ace along with the following commendations; Distinguished Flying Cross with One Star, Air Medal with Two Stars, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”. He received the Purple Heart during the Battle of Leyte Gulf where he was severely wounded. He was reactivated for the Korean War where he flew jets off the CVE Point Cruz. After his Naval Career he continued in the aviation field as a test pilot and aeronautical engineer. His career culminated as V.P. of Sunbury Textiles Mills in Sunbury, PA.
Along with his wife Eileen he is survived by three daughters, Eileen L. MacDonald and husband Michael F. MacDonald of Middletown, RI, Colleen L. Martin and husband Alfred J. Martin of Newport, RI, and Maureen L. Rogers and husband Jeffery W. Rogers of Chesapeake, VA.
Five grandchildren, Michael F. MacDonald and his wife Lori C. MacDonald of Coventry, RI, Shawn P. MacDonald and his wife Donna L. MacDonald of West Warwick, RI, Patrick C. MacDonald of Middletown, RI, Jeremiah M. Rogers of Norfolk, VA, Kyle A. Martin of Newport, RI and three Great-Grandchildren, Tyler N. MacDonald of Coventry, RI, Alexa R. MacDonald of West Warwick, RI, and Brandon P. MacDonald of Middletown. Nieces Barbara A. Leonard of Jacksonville, FL and Patricia L. Coleman and husband William Coleman of Jacksonville, FL. He was the brother of the late Capt. John A. Leonard USN (Ret.) He was a former member of the Naval War College Foundation, Redwood Library and Athenaeum and Hazard’s Beach Association.
Visiting hours will be held Monday, November 25, 2013 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport. Funeral Mass will take place Tuesday November 26, 2013 10:00 am St. Augustin’s Church, Carroll Avenue, Newport. Burial with Military Honors will follow at St. Columba Cemetery, Brown’s Lane, Middletown, RI.
Donations in Chuck’s memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256.