Patrick Richard Leonard, 80, died very peacefully at home on Thursday, December 7, 2017 with loving family and friends at his side. He was born August 24, 1937 at Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma to Johnnie Mae Hanks Leonard and Richard Grafton Leonard, joining older sister Flo Lorene, and joined a few years later by another sister, Jan Christine.
His childhood was spent in Oklahoma and on Army Air Corps bases in several southern states, then the Canal Zone in Panama after the war, where he experienced the wonders of the jungle and had many youthful adventures. There, his sister Jan died and brother Tony Mack was born.
The family moved to Great Falls Air Force Base in 1949, then to Missoula in 1951, where his father worked in the Air Force ROTC program and Pat attended Missoula County High School, graduating in 1955. He worked two summers on the A.B. Cobb ranch near Augusta, gaining by hard labor the strength and endurance that would see him through a lifetime of wilderness adventures.
He first developed his love of hiking and climbing mountains during his high school and college years in Missoula, with forays into the Mission Mountains, Beartooth Mountains, and Glacier Park.
In 1955, the family moved to a much-loved ranch up Lolo Creek from which Pat commuted to the University in Missoula, graduating in 1959 with a B.A. degree in physics and a commission in the USAF. That July he married Brooke Billings and they left for Eglin A.F.B, Fort Walton Beach FL, where eldest son Matthew was born in 1961. Restationed to Albuquerque, Pat enjoyed being near mountains again.
After leaving the military in 1963, the family moved to Bloomington IN for Brooke’s graduate school and Pat’s continuing education. There, daughter Morna was born in 1965. Then followed a brief stint in Las Cruces, NM at the White Sands test range before moving to Seattle where youngest son Marcus was born in 1967. Pat worked for Boeing, eventually going to grad school at Seattle Pacific University, as well as climbing mountains, being in Search & Rescue, and being a summer ranger at Mt Rainier.
The family moved to Idaho Falls, ID in 1969 where Pat worked for Westinghouse at the Naval Reactor Facility near Arco. He became very active in the Idaho Alpine Club, joined the Ski Patrol at the newly opened Grand Targhee Ski Resort, led climbing trips in the Grand Tetons, and did more mountaineering in WA and CO. He built the ‘blue canoe’ and the first of many kayaks and took to the rivers. Pat introduced his three children to hiking, skiing, canoe camping, bicycling and other activities while living in Idaho Falls.
He was hired by Science Applications Inc./Science Applications International Corp. in 1980 and moved to Gaithersburg MD in 1981 to work on a project there. Among his many career accomplishments, he made a living as an independent Health Physicist between 1986 and 1990; and he did freelance technical translations from Russian to English after teaching himself Russian in the 1980s.
While living in MD, he fell in love with a white-water kayaker, Donna Berglund, and he and Brooke divorced in 1982. Pat and Donna had a number of adventures together before her death in 1986. He helped her teach South West Field Studies in Big Bend National Park for Earlham College, and went on two long canoe trips in the Northwest Territories (now Nunavut) (1983 and 1985), as well as white-water kayak trips on rivers throughout the west. In 1987 he returned to the Northwest Territories (Nunavut) with his son Marcus and Pat’s companion, Susan Sonchik
Pat returned to Idaho Falls in the late 1980s to work for Idaho National Engineering Lab. He met Toddy Perryman in Montana in 1989, and they built a house together east of Corvallis, MT, and married in 1995. They loved their many adventures together. Not always ‘fun’ but always grand. There were two Grand Canyon kayak and raft trips (1992 and 2004) (2004 trip including Marc, Morna, and Pat’s brother Tony); two more trips to the NWT (Nunavut,) (1992 with Pat’s son Marcus and companion Claire Rutiser) (1996 with son Marcus and another friend, the late Bob Hammer of Idaho Falls.) There were many sea kayaking trips off the coast of WA and BC (from 1997 to 2006), and lots of canyon hiking in the southwest, especially Utah.
Between around 1998 and 2001 he did more mountain climbing, joined often by his son Marc and a dear friend, Charlie Berglund (brother of the late Donna Berglund). Among the climbs were ascents of Mount Stuart (WA), Mount Baker (WA) (also joined by Charlie’s daughter, Jessica, a person very dear to Pat), Mount Hood (OR), more climbing in the Tetons (WY), and finally completing a climb of Mount Rainier in 2000 (which also included friend Derek Brown.)
After Pat was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005, he and Toddy put more effort into adventures: bicycling in Germany, finally buying a sailboat (2006), learning to sail, and going to Alaska via the Inside Passage (2007), skiing, boating, hiking and cycling as long as possible. Pat did his best to stay active and always learning.
Even after losing the abilities to backpack and climb and kayak, and his balance got difficult, he still loved to travel in the small RV that he and Toddy bought. The red rocks of the southwest always were a joy for him to visit and see. He truly loved and wanted to be in the wilderness.
Pat lived his life with courage, strength, grace, and delight in the outdoors. He died as he had lived, with courage strength, grace, and happiness in finally being allowed to go Home.
On the morning of the day of his death, a herd of elk walked up the skyline on his property and stood there to say goodbye; the majestic bull stood high on the hill and beckoned to him to follow. (Well, we like to think that, anyway.) After he died, the elk herd walked back downhill, came up a second time and stopped for about an hour to stare at the house. We like to think that they waited to take his spirit Home to his very much loved wilderness and those that have gone on before him.
He was predeceased by his parents, his sisters, and his best friend Clem Small. He is survived by his wife, Toddy; son Matt (Cheryl) and grandsons Nathan and Pieter of Idaho Falls; daughter Morna of Hamilton; son Marc (Robin Brown) and grandson Brendan of Bellingham, WA; brother Tony (Jill) of Kamas, UT; nieces Eve (Charlie) Dixon of Polson, and Chris (Dennis) Kashmir-Green of Oregon, nephew Tyson Robinson of Alaska, maternal aunts Nancy Hale and Nadine Swindells, and many friends, old and new.
A green burial took place not long after his death. A celebration of his life will take place in August 2018. If anyone wishes, donation may be made in his name to Doctors Without Borders, Compassion & Choices, or your local food bank.