Don Leonard

Don Leonard

December 7, 1937 — July 24, 2018

The Honorable Judge Don Leonard, retired judge of the Texas State Criminal District Court Number Three of Tarrant County, passed away July 24, 2018.

Don was born Dec. 7, 1937, to Albert and Jessie Leonard and was raised in Waco, Texas.

He attended Tarleton College and went to the University of Texas in Austin, where he received a degree in business administration and a doctor of jurisprudence degree.

After law school, he moved his family to Fort Worth to work as an assistant city attorney and then became a municipal court judge from 1963 to 1966, at the age of 25, considered to be the youngest judge at the time. He went on to form his private practice in civil, criminal and family law from 1966 to 1982.

In 1982 he was elected to the bench of Criminal District Court Number Three, a post he held for five terms undefeated. Judge Leonard’s community and civil activities have included former and current memberships in the Tarrant County Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Western and Northern District Federal Bar Association, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the State College of the Judiciary, the Southside Optimist club and St Stephen Presbyterian church.

Don was a graduate of the National Judicial College, was appointed by the Honorable Gib Lewis to serve on a committee studying the role of the family in reducing recidivism, served on the Tarrant County Crime District Board of Directors and was a former chairman of the Board of Judges and the Juvenile Board. He was awarded the prestigious Silver Gavel Award for his outstanding judicial service by the Tarrant County Bar Association.

He was a proud Longhorn and loved football, along with golf, hunting, and fishing. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family at home on the lake. He was also known for his fairness and sense of humor. Dad lived his life as a good, faithful, Christian man.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Jessie Leonard, and his son-in-law, Phillip Walker.

He is survived by his loving wife, Judy, of 62 years, along with his two daughters, Debra Walker, Cynthia Leonard, and son-in-law Henry Encina; five grandchildren, Donald Leonard and wife Nadejda, Megan Benavides and husband Russell, Shelby Walker, Saralyn Walker, and Samuel Encina; and six great-grandchildren, Austin, Donny, Lillian, Aubrey, Carson, and London.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or a favorite charity of your choice.

May he rest in peace.

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