Tyson Leonard

Born: Thu., Feb. 16, 1939
Died: Wed., Jan. 15, 2020


Graveside Service

12:00 PM Sat., Jan. 25, 2020
Location: Swainsboro City Cemetery


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Tyson Leonard, of Independence, VA, was born in Swainsboro, GA in 1939 to Elizabeth Tyson Leonard and P.D. Leonard, Sr and died of natural causes in Winston-Salem, NC on January 15, 2020, surrounded by family. His ancestors were early settlers of Emanuel County, GA and Davidson County, NC having descended from Valentine Leonard, the first Leonard to arrive in the NC piedmont. Tyson grew up on North Main St. in Swainsboro, where the family home was the center of much activity and Tyson was 'well known' throughout town. His childhood, as most of his life too, is full of many colorful stories, some of which are legendary!

 

He was a standout athlete at Swainsboro High School, class of 1957, excelling in all sports, where he broke many records in track and football. Recruited by numerous colleges such as Alabama and Florida, he accepted a scholarship as a running back at Clemson where he studied agriculture and animal husbandry. He later played at Wofford before eventually joining his brother Mike at Troy State University.

 

In 1961 Tyson played for the Atlanta semi-pro football team Atlanta Spartans. Later, returning to Swainsboro he and his brother Mike started Leonard Aluminum Utility Buildings in 1964. A few years later Tyson expanded the company to Winston Salem, where it grew to a multistate business later known as Leonard Buildings and Truck Covers. While in the triad, he met a young nurse, Sandra Phillips from Tryon, NC, who was working at Baptist Hospital and she became his loving wife for over 50 years.  The headquarters later moved to Mt. Airy where he resided for many years before moving to his beloved farm on the New River in Independence, VA. Leonard Buildings and Truck Covers was sold in 2016.

 

Leonard Farms became nationally known for raising Longhorn cattle. For many years it was the site of Longhorn sales attracting buyers from all over the country. Tyson was a well-known and respected member of the Longhorn Breeders Association of America.

 

Aside from his Longhorn cattle, his other passion was golf. There are many stories about his golf antics that are somewhat legendary, and probably most are true! Tyson was a larger than life character that will be deeply missed by many.

 

He was preceded in death by his parents, P.D. and Elizabeth Leonard, brothers R.M. "Dick" Leonard, Jim Leonard, H.M "Frosty" Leonard, Mike Leonard, P. D. "Pete' Leonard, and sister Diana Ramsay. He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Sandra P. Leonard, of Independence, VA, daughter Beth Leonard Glover, granddaughters Anna Pate Glover and Keyton Glover all of Winston Salem, NC and Savanna Smith of Galax, Va.  Also, to cherish his memory are some of his closest nieces and nephews, Jimmy P. Leonard, Dr. Michael Leonard (Anitha), April Leonard Tegeler (John), P.D. "Trey" Leonard, III (Tina), Meredith Leonard, Jacob Tyson Leonard, "Baby" Elizabeth Tegeler, and Leela Leonard. He had a host of other nieces and nephews whom he cared for deeply. His sisters in law Carolyn Smith (Doug), June Leonard and Helen Leonard also survive. The number of dedicated Leonard Buildings and Leonard Farms employees, as well the many caregivers are too numerous to thank but the family is appreciative for each and every one of you.  David O'Neil was a special friend and the family thanks you greatly for your dedication to the company and for your friendship.

 

Please join us in celebrating the life of Tyson at Moody Funeral Service, 206 W. Pine St. in Mt. Airy, NC on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 at 2pm with Rev. Jon Cawley officiating and visitation from 12-2. Burial will take place in the family plot at the Swainsboro, GA City Cemetery on Saturday Jan. 25, 2020 at 12:00pm with the Rev. Jim Harrell officiating the graveside service.

 

We ask that you send donations in Tyson's memory to the Surry Humane Society, 230 Frederick St., Mount Airy, NC 27030.

 

Online condolences may be made at www.moodyfuneralservices.com.

 

Durden-Hudson Funeral Directors is in charge of local arrangements for the funeral service for Mr. Henry Tyson Leonard.

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