Robert B. Leonard
Dr. Robert “Bob” Leonard passed away September 22, 2015.
He was born February 26, 1926, the son of Robert and Charlotte Leonard.
At the age of 17 he volunteered to serve in the US Army, and was awarded the American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, Good Conduct and World War II Victory medals before his honorable discharge in 1946.
Bob earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He then spent six years in Venezuela as a field party geologist directing structural and stratigraphic mapping expeditions for oil exploration in remote areas of Venezuela and Columbia. He and his team explored portions of the Andes, the Falcon Desert and the Coast Range on mule back.
He met his wife, Mary, while she was visiting her brother in Venezuela.
Bob went on to earn a PhD in Geology from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1959, where he was elected to membership in Sigma Xi. He was a scientist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) for 25 years, spending two years in New Mexico as a visiting professor, and five years in Montana as a geothermal hydrologist. Bob retired from the USGS, Water Resources Division in Lawrence in 1987.
As an avid and vibrant outdoorsman, Bob was in his element when he was outside enjoying nature’s diversity.
Survivors include Mary, his wife of 63 years, son Andy, daughter Suzanne, four grandsons and one granddaughter.
In honor of Bob’s wishes, no service is planned; a family gathering will be held at a later date to celebrate Bob’s life.
I had the privilege of working with Bob in my early years with the USGS in Lawrence beginning in 1969. I prepared maps and illustrations and edited manuscripts until my retirement in 2007. I’ll always remember Bob’s dry sense of humor and pride in his children.
My deepest condolences,
Lanna Hentsch Combs
Bob produced a valuable body of publications on the quality and hydrogeology of Kansas water resources. He was at the USGS when I joined the Kansas Geological Survey in the adjoining building to the USGS in 1978. My work is also in the area of water quality and hydrogeology in Kansas, so I found that his studies were references that I would read to understand what was already known. I enjoyed talking with Bob on the several occasions that I met him. I am grateful for his contributions to the knowledge of Kansas water resources.
I am sure you have many special memories of other contributions Bob made. I send my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends in remembering well his rich life, especially for the family gathering to celebrate his life.
My condolences to Mary and the family on Bob’s death.
Bob was my co-worker at the USGS in the 1980s and I visited him & Mary at their beautiful home south of Lawrence, KS several times after that. I enjoyed Bob’s stories about his past experiences (some that are probably better not repeated!) and his views on the world. He was always willing to help and offer advice. Definitely an example of living life to the fullest.
My deepest sympathy