Ryan A. D. Leonard, 29, of Derby, Vt., passed away suddenly on Sept. 18, 2012 in Burlington, Vt. He was born July 8, 1983 in St. Johnsbury, Vt. the beloved son of Bruce and Lynda (Frost) Leonard.
He graduated from North Country Union High School in the class of 2003. He entered the U.S. Army where he was deployed twice to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2011 he married Melissa Whittemore who survives him.
As a young man, Ryan learned the rewards of giving of himself. He volunteered for several years to the American Legion Christmas for the Lonely Program by helping in the kitchen. He also was a member of the Boy Scouts, Newport Ambulance Explorer Post, The American Red Cross Disaster Team, and the Newport Church of the Nazarene Youth Group.
He enjoyed fundraising for these groups. It was this drive and energy that empowered him to pursue his ultimate goal of deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. In his free time, he enjoyed spending time with his family, his children, but he also had the love of hunting. He enjoyed the outdoors and he was waiting for the day when he shot a 10 point buck. He had fun fishing with his kids, he loved his truck and he loved his kids. He also loved all of his brothers in arms whether it be ones he served with or ones he met in passing. He loved helping his friends even if they didn't ask for help. He enjoyed being himself around all his friends. Ryan learned his passion for cooking from one of his best friends. He was always willing to give you his opinion, he was strong willed, and was willing to fight for what he wants. He enjoyed bonfires and having small friend and family get togethers. He often watched the stars at night wandering what was out there. He was greatly loved by almost everyone that knew him. He hated showing his sensitive side and he was always putting on the " I'm tuff 'attitude, but everyone that knew him, knew who he really was. He wouldn't want a tear drop shed, but instead remember all the good times we have had with him, whether it be from childhood mischief to his adult life. We all will remember and love him.
He is survived by his wife Melissa Leonard of Derby, Vt., by his children: Ryan J. Leonard, Natasha Leonard, Katie Whittemore-Leonard, Jonathan Whittemore, and Jacob Whittemore, by his parents : Bruce and Lynda Leonard of St. Johnsbury, Vt. He is also survived by his ex-wife Jennifer Birch-Leonard and her son Devon Birch both of Newport, Vt. He is survived by his sisters: Amy Frost of North Troy, Vt., Melissa Ann Leonard and Samantha Leonard all of St. Johnsbury, Vt. and by many aunts, uncles, grandparents from both sides of the family, and brother and sister-in-laws and also by his best friend Josh LaClair and his mother Edna LaClair-Petit. He was predeceased by his brother Hunter in 1986.
Friends may call from 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, 4670 Darling Hill Road, Newport, Vt. where funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 with the Rev. James Gamble officiating. Interment will follow in Derby Center Cemetery with full military honors. Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to Family Readiness Group, in care of SFC Urie 540 Union Street, Newport, Vt., 05855. On-line condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at www.curtis-britch.com. Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, locally family owned and operated.