News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Jay Edwin Leonhardy, October 30, 1959 — August 9, 2021

Jay Edwin Leonhardy passed away Monday, August 9, 2021 in Santa Isobel, California, at the age of 61.

Jay was born in Burlingame, California, on October 30, 1959 and grew up in Cottage Grove and Sisters, Oregon.

He spent his adult years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was known for his political activism. He worked with Sane Freeze, an anti-nuclear organization, as a lobbyist and canvasser; he was the chief of staff for Oakland City Councilman Henry Chang; he wrote grants for the Native American Health Center in Oakland; he was the director of youth works for the city of Richmond, finding funding and job training for youth at risk; and he led numerous campaigns for people seeking political positions in the Bay Area. These are just highlights of his many accomplishments throughout his work life. The people he helped during this time are innumerable.

His sense of adventure led him to Australia, the Middle East, and Indonesia; and he had friends wherever he traveled.

Jay spent his retirement as a “rock hound,” traveling from the sun stone mines in Oregon to the tourmaline mine in Santa Isobel where he lived and worked. He shared his love and knowledge of digging rocks with others who turned the dirt in hopes of finding treasures once the dirt was washed away.

Jay was notorious for his crazy driving habits. He terrified anyone who had to ride with him. His favorite saying was: “Drive fast, take chances, and don’t forget to transform.”

Jay is predeceased by his brother, Jerry Leonhardy, and his father, Bruce Leonhardy.

He is survived by his mother, Roberta (Bobbe) Leonhardy; his two sisters, Rachel and Tracy Leonhardy; his aunts, Adele Leonhardy Irvin and Terry Leonhardy; and his cousins, Galen, Robert, and Jonelle Leonhardy, Matthew Irvin, Rhonda Wirth, and Michelle Dellit. He was “Unka Jay” to numerous children of family and friends.

A casual celebration of life will be held for family and friends later this year at his mother’s home in Bend, Oregon.


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