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Resident Spotlight: Leonard L.

Leonard L. was born in Washington, D.C., in 1920, and is a proud Washingtonian. As a youngster, he was wild about sports. Baseball at Griffith Stadium was a summer pastime. He had a collection of autographed baseballs, including those signed by Walter Johnson, Carl Reynolds and Lou Gehrig. He pursued his dream of becoming a sportswriter through stints on the staffs of both his high school and college newspapers. Leonard met his wife early in life, as he says, “when we were just brats.” But fate did not reunite them until after World War II. Leonard attended the University of North Carolina where he studied journalism and graduated in 1941. His aspirations were put on hold, however, when he was drafted into the U.S. Navy immediately after graduation.

Leonard served four years in the military, mostly as a navigator in the Atlantic, where he found he was able to use the Morse code skills he had learned as a boy scout! During the last year of his service, he was appointed captain of a small tuna boat that was used to transport refrigerated and frozen foods to ports between Pearl Harbor and the Johnston Atoll.

After the war, Leonard worked for more than a year for the Army-Navy Journal, covering the military unification hearings, but soon realized that journalism was not his passion. One fateful evening Leonard went to a dance hall and, during a break in the music, felt a tap on his shoulder. Standing before him was Janet, the woman who would become his wife. She introduced herself, and he recognized his childhood acquaintance. He was immediately smitten, and, as he recounts, “I began to pursue her, going to visit her every night, until she agreed to be my wife!”

Two weeks after their marriage, Leonard went to work for the National Canners Association, a job which took him to well over 27 countries and cities worldwide! He served as an advisor on international canning-industry trade laws and eventually also worked on OSHA industry safety regulations. Leonard retired from the Association after a 40-year career but continued working as a consultant until he was 82.

Leonard was married to Janet for 66 wonderful years and they raised two children. Leonard loves to keep in touch with his grand- and great grand-children and has called Kensington Park his home for the last six years.