Cover photo for Harold "Red" Leonard's Obituary
Harold "Red" Leonard Profile Photo

Harold "Red" Leonard

d. June 22, 2023

South St. Paul, Minnesota

Harold "Red" Leonard

 

Harold “Red” Leonard

Father, Papa and South Saint Paul Icon

On June 22, 2023, Red peacefully passed away in the comfort of his home in South Saint Paul, the beloved city where he built and lived his life. 

Red was born May 31st, 1928, in St. Paul, MN. He was the third child of Thomas Howard and Barbara (O’Kane) Leonard’s five children. His Irish heritage and ginger hair earned him the nickname “Red” in high school, a moniker that stuck. Red’s parents died when he was still a young man, and he began working in accounting at 3M to help support his family. Duty called during the Korean War, and Red served the Army in the anti-mine and tank division, which was dangerous work. When an officer asked if anyone in the unit could type, Red raised his hand and earned a second job within the Army as typist for the General. He credited this skill with saving his life during the war and later encouraged his sons to take typing class in school.  

In Kaposia Park at age 17, Red encountered Jeri, the prettiest girl he’d ever seen. They married in June of 1954, shortly after he returned from Korea. They were married for 58 years.

Upon his return from the Army, Red sought a sales position at 3M but was told to stick to accounting. Undeterred, he went to work for the Desoto division of the Chrysler corporation.  From there he landed in Rochester, MN,  running the day to day operations of Adamson Motors.  

But Red had bigger sights; his high school yearbook quote was “One day I may do something spectacular!” He did. In 1963 with $5000 in his pocket, one car on the lot and four spark plugs, Red and Jeri purchased the Chrysler Plymouth Dealership in South St Paul, renaming it Fury Motors after the strong, stand-alone horse of the 1950’s eponymous book series. 

His personal life grew, too. In 1966, Red and Jeri welcomed their first son, Tom, and then younger son, Jim, in 1967.   Red took an active role in helping his sons with sports and loved to take them to North Star and Twins games.  

In the years to follow, Red and his family grew Fury Motors into one of the largest and most successful Chrysler dealerships in the State of Minnesota.  Sons Tom and Jim joined the dealership in 1988 and 1991, respectively, and in 1999, Fury Motors moved to its current location at the intersection of 494 and Concord Street in South St. Paul.  Over the next 24 years Red and family grew Fury into the three locations they have today.  Today Fury Motors remains a family owned; family led South Saint Paul institution.

Red's professional philosophy was "if you take care of the customer in service, they will come back to you for sales."  

Throughout all of his accomplishments he was most proud of being a Father, Grandfather, Uncle and a World Class Tease.  He loved jokes, inventing nicknames, going to the family cabin and teaching kids to water ski, and playing games like spades, cribbage, or aggravation.  

Red is preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Barbara;, sisters, Leona and Therese;, brother, Hugh; and his beloved wife Jeri.  He is survived by sons, Tom (Phoebe) and Jim; granddaughters, Dani, Charlee, and Bridget; grandsons, Hughes and Tommy; sister, Donna and a huge number of nieces, nephews, and a great many that considered him a second dad, advisor, mentor or confidant.

Red will be remembered as a man who liked and was liked by all types of people, and he will be greatly missed by all. 

Irish wake services (storytelling, food, and music) will be held at Fury Motors, 1000 S Concord St, South Saint Paul on Wednesday, June 28th, 2023 from 4-8pm.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held  Thursday, June 29th at Church of the Assumption, 51 7th St West, St. Paul, MN at 10am with visitation 1 hour prior to the Mass at the church. 

 

Memorials can be made to the South St Paul Educational Foundation at: https://www.sspef.com/donate/

 

 

Past Services

Irish Wake

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Visitation

Thursday, June 29, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

Church of the Assumption - Saint Paul

51 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

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Mass of Christian Burial

Thursday, June 29, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Church of the Assumption - Saint Paul

51 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

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