Reverend Earlie Lee Leonard was born June 21, 1931 in the Hissop Community, Coosa County, Alabama. He was a dedicated follower of Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, mentor, and passionate community leader.
He attended Hissop School and Coosa County Training School. He served in the army in the 7th and 3rd Infantry Division and in the 31st Infantry of combat as Sergeant during the Korean War. He was in Korea when the Armistice Agreement was signed ending the Korean War. He was well accomplished receiving the Combat Infantry, Korean Service, and National Defense Medals.
Following his military career, he completed his high school education. Earlie continued his education by receiving his degree in Carpentry at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, AL (formerly Wenonah State Technical Institute). After being called into the ministry, he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1981 and Bachelor of Theology in 1982 from Birmingham Baptist Bible College.
His carpentry training propelled him into a lifelong career in construction. He began his career in Birmingham, Alabama working in the commercial and residential sector; and he continued this line of work in other cities across the state after returning to Coosa County. Later in his career, he opened his own business building and renovating family residences and churches for community members for over 50 years.
On December 19, 1954, he married the love of his life Lillian Mitchell. This union blessed the couple with four children, Irvin, DeJarvis, Vanessa, and Melissa. He led his family toward Christ and left a legacy of serving Jesus for his 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior at an early age and faithfully served Him to the day he died, preaching his last sermon the morning of his passing. While living in Birmingham, he attended St. John Baptist Church but maintained his membership at The New Home Missionary Baptist Church in Coosa County, AL life. He was a quartet singer, Church Clerk, and Crusader Chief. He also served as the Superintendent of Sunday School for 12 years and a Deacon for 14 years. Rev. Leonard was called by God to preach and minister God’s Word. After being licensed January 20, 1974 and ordained on July 21, 1974, he pastored Mt. Sinai-West. He was also called to pastor Mount Nebo Baptist Church (Equality, AL) in 1974 and Mount Zion Baptist Church (Central, AL) in 1975, serving until his passing.
In addition to his devoted service as a pastor, he served continually as a member of the Morning Star District. He was the Secretary of the Association, Congress Teacher, Vice-Moderator, and Moderator of the district throughout his tenure as a pastor. He was graced with the title of Moderator Emeritus after completing 24 years of service. His devotion to the gospel went beyond his community to his region, serving as the Chairperson of the Moderator’s Department for the Northeast District State Convention for over 20 years. He consistently attended conventions propelling the gospel across the United States for almost 50 years.
His community was a vital part of his life, and he invested his time in many civic clubs and associations. He served on the Coosa County Farmers and Civic Association Board; he was a faithful member of the Alabama Democratic Conference - Coosa County Chapter, the J. D. Thompson Alumni Association, the American Legion Post 339 and Cottage Grove Chapter Order of Eastern Star.
He was also a dedicated Mason, functioning as a Worshipful Master for Lodge 274 and as a District Deputy. He served on the Coosa County Revenue Commission Board of Equalization (1994-2018) eventually serving as the Chief Inspector and he served as the Cottage Grove Precinct Poll Inspector.
Rev. Leonard was preceded in death by his parents Willie Franklin and Claude Mariah Leonard; his siblings, Plesby Leonard, David Leonard, Charles Leonard, Vallie (Samuel) Goggans, and a brother in-law Edward Lauderdale; and two great grandchildren, Niya and Madison Hogan. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 67 years, Lillian Leonard, four children, Irvin (Wanda), DeJarvis (Karen), Vanessa, and Melissa (Michael), siblings Augusta Lauderdale, John L. Leonard, Lee Dorothy (Holman) Edmond, and Loretta (Jack) Marbury, and one sister-in-law Rebecca Leonard; seven grandchildren, Marlon, Wanishea (Fred), Ivory (Russell), Brittany (Nick), DeJarvis II (Scotti Michele), Ashley, and Aliyah; and energetic great-grandchildren Chloe, Peyton, Zane, Brayleigh, Ryann, DeJarvis III, and Zaya, to build on his legacy along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.
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