Raymond “Spike” Charles Leonard

By Orleans Hub Posted 15 December 2021 at 11:49 am

Raymond “Spike” Charles Leonard, 82 of Avon, NY passed away on Dec. 11, 2021. Raymond, or “Spike” as he was lovingly known to family and close friends, was born on Jan. 17, 1939 to William Stanley Leonard and Gladys Atkinson-Huxley Leonard of Penn Yan, NY. Spike spent his childhood on the shore of Keuka Lake at his family’s home on the East Bluff.

He met his wife and best friend of 60 years, Sally Moore Leonard, while she was attending Keuka College. Sally convinced him they should both become school teachers and spend their life working side by side. They attended Geneseo State University together, where they earned their teaching degrees and where Spike served as founding president of his fraternity Sigma Tau Psi.

As a couple and team, they were inseparable. They made their home in Avon, NY, where for 35 years they were sixth-grade team teachers, touching thousands of lives. Those years teaching together were some of the most rewarding of their lives. At Avon Middle School they were innovators, starting and leading programs in model rocket building, etiquette, calligraphy, photography and film processing–and an annual sixth grade trip to Boston for whale watching. To this day, former students remark with joy and pride: “I had Mr. and Mrs. Leonard for sixth grade.”

Spike’s influence extended beyond the classroom. For 18 years, he coached diving. When asked to be Avon’s diving coach, with no prior knowledge or experience in diving, Spike taught himself all the basics and attended coaching clinics to gain a deeper knowledge of the sport. He went on to coach high school and collegiate levels at both Avon and SUNY Geneseo. During his tenure, he coached many sectional champions, state qualifiers, and SUNYAC champions.

Being on and near the water was a mutual love for the couple, as both Spike and Sally had spent their youths on the shores of Keuka and Ontario. In 1976 they purchased a summer home at Oak Orchard on Lake Ontario, where they shared many happy summers boating and sailing competitively at the Oak Orchard Yacht Club. A self-taught sailor and voracious learner, Spike achieved remarkable success in yacht racing, competing in regattas across Lake Ontario and holding positions as the Yacht Club’s Commodore and Fleet Captain. With his children, grandchildren, and friends as crew, he was tactician, helmsman, teacher, father, and grandfather aboard his many sailboats named Foxfire, Emeraude, Static, Encore and Spontaneous. In the summer of 2021, despite failing health, he helmed his boat Spontaneous to finish first place in his fleet, capping a legendary sailing career.

Sailing was just one of many passions. Spike’s love for antique motorcycles, cars, and boats, was a love he shared with his father-in-law and great friend Allen Moore. The two spent many wonderful years traveling to auto shows and working on restoration projects in Allen’s garage in Albion, NY. Spike went on to restore antique mahogany runabouts, 1930s Indian motorcycles, and several classic cars. It’s a love he passed down to his children and grandchildren, who will carry on the legacy of these two remarkable patriarchs.

To his family, Spike was the go-to expert on virtually everything and was always turning ideas into action. There was no project or plan he couldn’t or wouldn’t tackle. He was a constant learner and intrepid adventurer. After retiring from teaching, he set his sights on flying and earned his pilot license. In true form, he bought a kit airplane, which he built in his barn, and spent many hours flying around the region. His can-do attitude continues to inspire his family and all those who knew him.

To his nine grandchildren, whom he loved dearly, he is known only as “Pa”. He would speak with love and pride whenever sharing one of their individual accomplishments with people. These nine grandchildren, ranging from eighth grade to young adults, possess many of the traits and much of the knowledge handed down to them by a man who in their hearts will always be immortal.

He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years Sally (Moore) Leonard; children: Kyle (Jenny), Dana (Jennifer), Darren (Kristin) Leonard, and Natalie (Brian) McCue; sister, Elaine Hawkes; grandchildren: Allison, Quinn, Emily, Shea, Declan, Avery, Finnegan, Leila, and Caden; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded by his brother, William Leonard.

Services and interment were held at the convenience of the family. Private interment at Mt. Albion Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Avon Swimming and Diving Team at Avon Athletic Club, c/o Avon Central School, 191 Clinton St., Avon, NY 14414.

To share a memory or send a condolence visit: stephensondoughertyfuneralhome.com