Eight Bells: Larry Leonard

Published on October 26th, 2020

Laurance Allen Leonard, (1931-2020), a renowned Annapolis businessman and entrepreneur, died October 18 following a short illness. He was 89 years old.

Larry was best known as the longtime proprietor of Eddie Leonard’s Sporting Goods, a business his father, Eddie, founded, in 1946. Larry took over ownership of the company in 1960, when his Dad died, from a series of strokes.

During Larry’s tenure, the company enjoyed much success, selling retail sporting equipment, and wholesale sporting equipment, to the many local schools, which included the US Naval Academy, as well as the Baltimore Colts, and the Baltimore Orioles.

After selling the business in 1974, he turned his attention in 1975 to building a Carter 3/4 Ton sailboat, named Pride, which he delivered to Florida, where he, and his son Larry Jr competed, in the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit.

Upon his return to Annapolis in 1976, he grew tired of retirement, and started a sailmaking and canvas business with his son, Larry Jr, named Leonard Inc. This loft was located within the Trumpy Shipyard in Eastport, MD. In 1978, he opened a second sails and service facility at Zanheiser’s Marina, in Solomons, MD.

In 1983, he and his son bought property on Bay Ridge Road where they moved the loft which that same year became a franchise for Sobstad Sailmakers, until 1996, when Larry Jr started The Quantum Sail Design Group. During their time together, Larry Sr. managed the canvas division while Larry Jr. worked to sell, design, and produce sails.

Larry left the business in 1988 and moved to Ocean Pines, MD, to live with Jeannie Grimes whom he married in 1994. Shortly after moving to Ocean Pines, he was appointed President of the Yacht Basin Company, of which he was a stockholder. Larry served in that role from 1992 until 2015, when he retired.

In 2003, his wife Jeannie died unexpectedly from a stomach aneurysm. Following her death, Larry moved back to Annapolis and lived from 2006 to 2018 at the Watergate Apartments in Eastport. From 2018 to 2020, he lived at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center in Annapolis, MD until he died.

Larry was born in Baltimore, MD, son of Eddie and Laura Leonard. Growing up alongside an older brother Eddie, he attended St Paul’s School from 1944 to 1948. From 1948-1952, he attended Washington College, in Chestertown, MD, and was a standout lacrosse player.

Shortly after graduating from college, Larry married Margaret (Peggy) Brimer, from Snow Hill, MD, and began working with his parents at the Eddie Leonard Sporting Goods Company, which was located, on Duke of Gloucester St, in Annapolis, MD. The couple had four children, Marty, Larry Jr, Kathy, and Scotty.

Larry began sailing, when he purchased his first boat, a Hampton One-Design, which he raced regularly with his wife, Peggy. He also bought his daughter Marty and his son Larry Jr a Penguin, which they campaigned, at local yacht clubs, throughout the summer, on the Chesapeake Bay.

Larry joined the Annapolis Yacht Club, in his early years, and became a lifetime member. He also served, as the Vice Commodore of the Club. He actively raced a Peterson-designed 30-foot half tonner on the Chesapeake Bay and enjoyed much success.

Laurance Allen Leonard, is survived by his four children – Marty Leonard Myers (Charleston, SC), Laurance Leonard Jr and his wife Kathryn (Annapolis, MD), Katherine Leonard Daly and husband Tom (Edisto Island, SC), and Scott Leonard (Annapolis, MD) – along with his six grandchildren, Meg, Kate, Lindsey, Rhiannon, Will, Ben, and 9 other great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his brother Eddie Leonard (Ellisville, MO) and by his first wife Peggy (Severna Park, MD).

Services for Laurance Allen Leonard are private and by invitation only. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to donate to the Annapolis SPCA.

Source: Dignity Memorial

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