Dr. Nathan Leonard’s Funeral Eulogy Given by: Rabbi Moshe P. Weisblum At Congregation Kneseth Israel, Annapolis Maryland May 9th, 2006
Dear family and friends,
Dr. Nathan Leonard as he was lovingly called Nate, his big smile and good sense of humor left you in a better mood. I know that Nate would want to be remembered for all the goodness and kindness in his life.
We are gathered here this afternoon to bid a sad farewell to our friend Dr. Nathan Leonard, loving husband of Dr. Edith Earle Leonard, devoted father of Sandi and Ellen, father- in-law of Dr. Harvey, grandfather of Ira and Bonny, brother of Edward, the late Louis and Silvia Smith.
On behalf of the family and our congregation, I'd like to thank all of you for coming to honor Dr. Nathan Leonard and his family. Death has taken Dr. Leonard, and so we grieve in a world that is darkened by the loss. Oh G-d, be with them, comfort them, begin for them a time of healing.
For all these and more, though we mourn this day for our loss, we give thanks to G-d for his life. And so do we begin our service with the beautiful melody of the words of Psalm 23, and I invite you to join me in those words…
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restoreth my soul, He guideth me in straight paths for his name's sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies. Thou hast anointed my head with oil, My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell in the house of the L-d forever. Amen.
In his sorrow, the biblical prophet Job cried out, "G-d has given. G-d has taken away. Blessed be the name of G-d."
We are an ancient people, well acquainted with life and death, well acquainted with the journey through the valley of shadows. Bereavement and mourning are not strangers to us. And hitherto the centuries have taught us that a good name endures beyond the grave, and that there is strength in our faith in G-d.
What do we remember most about Nathan? Nathan was married to Edith for 60 happy years. Last month, on April the 7th, they celebrated their 60th wedding Anniversary. They met in college; they dated, fell in love and married. The love of Nathan’s life was Edith, and the love of Edith’s life was Nathan. They were completely devoted to each other. You could see the love and commitment between the two of them.
They did much together. Not only raising their daughters, but they volunteered, traveled and shared a close circle of special friends. Nathan was a caring, loving father to his daughters and grandchildren-- the absolute best. Sandy and Ellen remember their father as always being there for them, and was a generous and caring man who lived with great humility.
His daughters speak with great love and awe of their father, and of his patience with them. Whether it was helping his grandson, Ira to master the knowledge of sports in his youth or reading a composition of his grandchildren. He was always proud of his family and recently, I had the privilege to participate in a special celebration meeting his grandson, Ira with fiancée Zoe and her family. Nate was very happy and proud.
Nathan was bright, inquisitive and intellectually precocious. He grew up speaking Yiddish. He was a wonderful human being, smiling and happy. Even in his later years when he became infirm, for the most part, he accepted his suffering with good grace, and continued going on with living and giving. This was due mainly because of the support and constant care from his wife Edith, his children, grandchildren, family, his medical team and his faith in G-d. Furthermore, one can honestly say that Nathan cared was a faithful Jew. He cared about his fellow man, community, synagogue and Israel. He also loved sports.
Nathan was indeed a dedicated Podiatrist. Like all good doctors, he possessed certain healing qualities. He was caring, competent, and compassionate. People remember coming into his office as a pleasant experience with his jokes, stories and wonderful bedside manner.
What he did, through his words and through his actions, extends beyond the physical. He created for all who knew him and were touched by his life, golden memories to live by.
We know his family will remain a vibrant part of our synagogue. At this time we would like to express additional gratitude and appreciation to three important people in his later life: Jane, Felicia and Angela for taking care of him during his illness. Thank you and G-d bless you.
May Dr. Nathan Leonard’s legacy and good will live on in the hearts of his dear family and friends. We pray that his fine name, kind deeds and beautiful values will live on. May his eternal soul ascend to heaven and rest in peace forevermore. Amen.
Condolence calls and Shivah Minyans will be observed at the home of Dr. Edith Leonard at 3 Steele Avenue, in Annapolis, this week at 7:45 PM.