Thomas “Tom” Walton Leonard

July 12, 2012

Thomas “Tom” Walton Leonard, age 68, passed away Monday, July 9, after struggling for several years with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Tom was born June 17, 1944 in Austin, Texas to George and Maureen Leonard. His family eventually moved to Sweetwater, Texas where he spent the majority of his childhood years. Those who knew Tom knew his great affinity for his hometown. It was the place where he developed his leadership style as band officer, head cheerleader, Editor of the yearbook, among many other honors. He also became a standout musician playing the clarinet and saxophone. Also while in high school, he played in towns across West Texas with a group of professional jazz musicians, and discovered that he had the chops to keep up. His love for big band music and jazz was a lifelong passion.
In 1962, Tom returned to Austin to study at the University of Texas. He played in the Longhorn Band, and was an avid Texas fan until his passing. While at the University, Tom was a member of the Tejas Club where he made many lifelong friends. Following undergraduate school, Tom continued his studies at the University of Texas School of Law where he graduated with honors, was an editor of the Texas Law Review, was a member of the Order of the Coif, and a member of Phi Delta Phi honor society.
As a young attorney, Tom was an Associate at Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston, Texas. During his time at the firm, Tom counted his best achievement as lobbying on behalf of the Baylor College of Medicine. During this time, he also campaigned for Barbara Jordan’s reelection campaign to the Texas Senate. That experience ignited a passion for progressive politics in Tom.
In 1976, Tom started his own law firm which grew to have offices in Austin, Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. His life’s work was as a municipal finance and bond lawyer. He felt his greatest professional accomplishment was the number of bills he managed to get passed through the Texas Legislature, which numbered over 100. In addition to his legislative work, the firm successfully closed countless school district financing and water district bond issues.
After moving back to Austin, Tom was an active citizen in his community. At various times, he served on the boards of the Austin YMCA, the Tejas Club foundation, and the Environmental Defense Fund Of Texas. He was a member of the Town and Gown Club, a Knight of the Austin Symphony, a member of the Downtown Rotary Club, he served as a member of the Chancellor’s counsel for the University of Texas and was a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C.
In his spare time, Tom continued his passion for politics. He served on the board of Participation 2000, an organization that trained and placed young people on campaigns across the country. He also raised money and supported many candidates in local, state and national elections. Tom was also an avid traveler, and was able to visit many of the world’s amazing places. He was also an active member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder.
Tom is survived by his wife, Betsy Richardson Leonard; his sister, Suzi Leonard; his son, Jeremy Leonard and his wife Tanja; his son, Paul Leonard and his wife Teresa; his step daughter, Carey Matson and her husband Cole; his step daughter, Sarah Pearson and her husband Nils; and five grandchildren, Samantha, Audrey, Sarah, Nils and Margaret.
A memorial service is being held in Tom’s honor on Saturday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78731 with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice Austin, the Alzheimer’s Association, or The Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Arrangements are made by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705; (512) 452-8811.

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