Mr. Leonard's neice (will ensure all the family sees any cards sent)
804 Ursuline Street
Metairie, LA 70005
Allan J. Leonard was born October 14, 1926 in New Orleans, Louisiana, died Thursday, November 3, 2011, the son of Roy L. Leonard and Althea Bethancourt Leonard. He had just celebrated his 85th birthday.
He was a graduate of Fortier High School and Tulane University, both in New Orleans. In the late 1940's, he was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during WWII and later became a high school teacher of American History to military children all over the world at numerous military bases. Although his home was New Orleans, he lived and taught primarily in Japan, Turkey, and Ger- many. He made a positive impressive impact on many of his students, who have re-membered him fondly as one of their be-loved teachers.
He had a vast knowledge of music, movies and the theater and loved talking and remi- niscing with relatives and friends into the wee hours of the morning. His love for New Orleans cooking was unsurpassed, especially for our famed crawfish boils.
Not only will he be missed by his family and friends, but also by his "Berlin Brats" who loved and respected their amazing teacher. Mr. Leonard is survived by his brother, Marvin L. Leonard, nephew Roy B. Leonard, niece Jeannie L. Maloney, great nephews Jason M. Leonard and Matthew J. Wheelahan, great-nieces Melissa L. Knott, Kelly W. Herrmann and Taylor A. Leonard. Additionally, he is survived by 5 great-great-nieces and several cousins.
Per Mr. Leonard's request, in lieu of flowers, please make a donation in his name to the local Channel 12 Station, WYES.
Condolences at http://www.leitzeaganfuneralhome.com
5 Nov 2011
After Katrina I met the most amazing man, Allan Leonard. He was the smartest man I have ever met; you are so right he never stopped talking about you or his students in his days of a teacher. He will truly be missed. Mr. Leonard is different from any person I have ever met. He was amazing. I became his friend after Katrina flooded his home. God had a hand in this whole process, there was a purpose. You know the story, but in case you want to take some pieces for the paper, here is goes, also I am not a good writer, so please correct anything.
One day after Katrina I was at my office. NOT on desk duty (this is when people call into to see a home they may want to purchase, and the phone rang) It was Rose Neel, she was looking for an agent to help Mr. Leonard. They became great friends, he was a teacher for the BRATS and she was one of his students. On this day New Orleans was still shut down and nothing was open. I had a key to the office and was going into pick up a few things to leave town again. I thought what a wonderful person to take such interest and have such compassion for a past teacher. She said "He just wants to come home, after sitting on the Causeway he was transported to Alabama and was living in a hotel", after that I called Mr. Leonard at his hotel. He pleaded with me to get him home. I told him now is not the time, he ask me to please drive by and see if his home had flooded. I drove by his home while we were talking on my cell, he was telling me the whole story about the mess on the Causeway and how he ended up in that hotel. It was hard to describe to him what all his books, movies and papers looked like through his kitchen window. Everything was ruined. He never married and never had children, so these things are all he had except the few friends like Rose. I am a real estate agent and I have been for 9 years. I have met many people but NO ONE like Mr. Leonard.
From that moment on we became friends. A few weeks had gone by and we stayed in touch at his hotel, I finally got him to get a cell phone and he was able to come home to New Orleans. In the last 6 years Mr. Leonard has been through 2 homes, and many visits to East Jefferson hospital. He would often call me from the hospital and I would visit. One time he called very upset because the doctor was telling him that he was incompetent and he could not take care of his own finances or think for himself. He set up a meeting for me and his doctor, thank God they allowed that. I told them that it was the medicine that they were giving him and that he was the most logical, competent person I know. They approved and changed his meds and all was well.
About 2 years ago He called me from East Jefferson hospital, and said He was diagnosed with Parkinson's. He said "Randie I need another home" I said, you have a home, and he said, they told him he could not be released without assistant living care. The hospital gave us one week to find a place; I have never had to look at those places before. I even tried to get him to have a live in. But for those of you who knew Mr. Leonard he was a very lonely man, he liked to be alone, he liked his own space, but he loved my visits and loved to tell his stories. I even ask if he wanted to live with my husband and me for a while. I ask him for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but he always said, NO. During my visits he told me so many great stories. He told me when he was in Berlin, writing for the paper, so much history in that mind and he remembered it all. At first, I would pick him up once a week and we would go to Block busters, lunch, Barnes and Nobles, or just visit and talk. I often spoke about him to my friends and family. My favorite time was taking him to the book stores, we would spend hours. No matter what book I picked up he knew the whole story, no matter what movie I picked up he knew who played in, what year and what was going on in his life at that time. Another great memory is when Rose came in town and we all had lunch. Mr. Leonard did not want to go, but after he did, he was so happy, what an amazing friendship they had. As time went on our visits were fewer. Sometimes he would meet me at the door and not want visitors, he was tired or sick. I am sorry that I did not force myself more to visit; life just gets in the way.
In ending this, please visit a friend, an older person, lonely person or someone that you haven't seen in while. Last Christmas morning I went to visit Mr. Leonard and when I was leaving his room a gentleman called me to his door, he said "excuse me, I know you are Mr. Leonard's friend, but if you ever want to visit me that would be ok." Please remember our old people; they have so much to teach us.
May you rest in peace, Mr. Leonard.
1405 Carnation Ave.
Metairie, La 70001
4 Nov 11
I just talked to Jeannie, Mr. Leonard's niece. Sadly, Mr. Leonard passed away peacefully this morning at 7:45. Jeannie was with him for his last couple of hours. The family will have a dinner to remember him after he is cremated. She'll either send a note or scan his obituary for us to post on Berlinbrats.org once it is in the newspaper. Again, there will be no service for him (as he requested) and in lieu of flowers he wanted donations in his name to go WYES, his local public broadcasting station:
Jeannie said that she has already started receiving kind notes from the Berlin Brats. She hopes to print off the stories from students and faculty at BerlinBrats.org to read at the dinner with their family.
Rose (Hanson) Neel '84
31 Oct 2011
I have some bad news about Mr. Leonard. He has been moved to a hospice and has stopped eating. He isn't able to speak to anyone for any length of time. His niece, Jeannie is planning his funeral arrangements now. She suggested that the brats-faculty and friends share some stories about Mr. Leonard on the berlinbrat.org web site for his family and friends to enjoy. I told her a few stories from the past few years and when I was in Berlin (Soviet Union Trip, his classroom). As we were speaking she took out birthday cards he recently received and started reading them. I think she really enjoyed knowing another side of Mr. Leonard (who she called Uncle Alan). She read a wonderful card from Diane Mahalik. It was a very sweet card and I think it was heart warming for Jeannie to see how much he was loved as she embarks on the difficult task of cleaning up his things and preparing his final arrangements.
Jeannie said that Mr Leonard is a private man, but that he was very involved with his family and came to her home often when she was a child. He used to share slide shows about his travels and tell funny stories about his students. She said that he loved his mother's cooking and was treated to crawfish etouffee whenever he went home. Although he was private, he loved his family and they loved him. She also said that he did have one sweetheart in his life, but that it didn't work out for some personal reasons I won't go in to. But I was glad to hear that he did fall in love and that she is still alive today and they remained friends.
Jeannie assured me that she will keep me posted about his condition and if he passes, we'll be notified.
Mr. Leonard is adamant about having no service. He said that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to PBS. According to Jeannie, Mr Leonard said that PBS had the best shows and he really enjoyed his local station WYES in New Orleans. Donations in his name can be made at:
I am so sad to deliver this news, but I loved talking to Jeannie and sharing stories about Mr. Leonard. I encourage everyone to post the stories about his life, so Jeannie and her family can see a bit more of what we saw in our beloved History teacher.
Rose (Hanson) Neel '84
9 Jul 11
WUSA is a 1970 film.... The story involves a radio station in New Orleans which is apparently involved in a so-called "right-wing conspiracy". Paul Newman plays a cynical drifter, who gets a job as an announcer - A few minutes into the film, Joanne Woodward's character walks into a bar looking for a job...on her way out she passes..... -is it? -could it be? - YouTube Video
I had always heard this old claim before... but thought it a Berlin 'urban legend', it is also cited in a 78 edition of Bearin Down - page 7.
Joe Morasco '75
1 Feb 11
Hi There! I just wanted to give a little update on Mr. Leonard:
Mr Leonard is downsizing and moving into a one bedroom apartment. I try to talk to him at least twice a month. He doesn't have a computer and is just amazed by all the old movies available on Amazon.com. We have found some of his old favorites for super cheap prices. He is always interested in stories about Berlin staff. If you have any to share, give him a call.
Rose (Hanson) Neel '84
1 Jan 09
Yesterday, I called Al Leonard. We talked for about 45 minutes. He has a two room apartment with a private bath. His mind is very alert, sharp, clear, but his body is having difficulties related to his Parkinsons disease. He is using a walker in his apartment. He sleeps in a reclining chair that he can control electrically. He said it is very difficult for him to get in and out of bed.
He loves to get phone calls, but you need a lot of patience - you need to let the phone ring about l5-20 times before he can reach the phone with his walker. Please alert people to this fact who would like to call him. He enjoys his books and videos. He is very clear and precise about his finances. He is interested in all the other Berlin teachers and students.
I wanted to share my experience and would like to encourage others to call him when they have time.
Have a great year.
Adam Hildenbrand FAC '70-'94
27 Jul 08
"I enjoyed a nice lunch and trip to the book store with Mr. Leonard and his friend Randi in June. He had a variety of ailments this past year but he is able to move around with some assistance. All of this considered, he is doing pretty well. He still lives alone at an assisted living home and is taken on outings by his friend Randi. He especially enjoys long trips to the book store and dinner out. He never tires of talking about old movies and good books."
Rose (Hanson) Neel '84
4 Jun 08
Mr. Leonard was in the hospital for 8 days with pneumonia. He's out now and doing better but is very depressed. Give him a call or drop a line. He does not have any close family members so he would love to hear from BERLINers!
31 Jul 07
After spending 4 weeks in the hospital after his fall, fracture, surgery and rehab, all parties agreed Mr. Leonard should go into an assisted living facility.
He's been there 2 weeks.
He has an apartment, which he says is quite nice and has all his books etc with him.
But he's using a walker and confined to the facility, selling his house and car.
He was down to 110 pounds but now up to 130 with 3 square meals a day and the "ensure" they have him on.
Please give him a call or drop a line. He does not have any close family members so he would love to hear from BERLINers!
22 Jun 07
Mr. Leonard fell on Sunday. His mail man heard him yelling for him on Monday and called 911. He had a non-invasive procedure done on his back (to treat a fracture) and he is feeling much better. He is at the East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, LA. If you would like to call him he can be reached at 504-454-5655. They will connect you to his room, as he'll be changing rooms tomorrow (Saturday). He hasn't been eating well for some time, so he is really enjoying the food. He bragged about the carrot cake and apple pie. He'll be in the hospital for at least another week. If you want to send him a card, I am sure it would make him feel remember. If you want to send a gift, remember that he loves chocolate candy bars. Thankfully, his realator has been willing to go check on him whenever I ask and has even helped get him lawn care assistance. She's a gem. She did go see him today and it lifted his spirits. This accident is probably a good thing. He is surrounded by people telling him how to get some support services. YEAH! He was struggling with that for some time. Anyway, just wanted to keep you updated on the latest with Mr. Leonard.
Rose (Hanson) Neel '84
6 Jan 07
Rose (Hanson) Neel '84 and Jeri (Polansky) Glass '72 talk to Mr. Leonard fairly regularly. He is back to attending "book fairs" and thereby regrowing his library.
Some days are better than others for him as he copes with Parkinson's disease which leaves him dizzy.
He stills enjoys talking to former students so feel free to give him a call at the number listed further down in this thread. He mind is still sharp as he remembers everything in and about BERLIN and will put you to shame!
23 May 06
To bring you up-to-date I'm alive and well living in "Constructionville USA," aka: Metairie, LA. It's like the wild west here, traffic jams everywhere. The sounds of New Orleans used to be Jazz but now it's the sound of nails on wood. I'm living in a new house, in a new neighborhood but with rowdy neighbors. The doctors and engineers have been replaced by electricians and plumbers.
I was overwhelmed by your generosity of the Gift Certificates. I purchased a lot of books, DVD's and CD's. Those Gift Certificates helped me reestablish my entire library, which brings me great joy.
Thank you so much but enough already!
The local Major Video chain has had a tremendous sale so I have continued my quest to grow the library you all started. Two fairs where books sell for $2 to $3 are coming up soon and I intend to stock up there as well.
I've enjoyed hearing from many of you. I wish I could join you in BERLIN this summer but my health does not allow it. I hope you all have a good time. Give my regards to Steglitz!
Be careful there because I think there are several crypto-commie; pinko-Bolsheviks still out there!
4 Dec 05
Memory Book for Christmas
A book of BERLIN Shots is being made for Mr. Leonard. If you have any memorable photos from the 70's and 80's please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to the photo album at www.kodakgallery.com. User name is BERLINbratclub@yahoo.com and the password is BERLIN.
Photos of Mr. Leonard with students, at the school or just memorable moments are appreciated (remember he lost everything), as well as photos of the city and major events. Some may remember the trip to the Soviet Union. If anyone has shots of Mr. Leonard on that trip, it would be wonderful.
Pictures that need to be scanned can be sent to Rose at:
Rose (Hanson) Neel
10204 Pope Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
YOUR PICTURES WILL BE MAILED BACK TO YOU!! Please include your address with any paper photos and I am happy to return them once I have scanned them in to the program. I will take care of the postage. Please submit as soon as possible so Mr. Leonard can receive by Christmas.
Thanks for all the help.
Rose Hanson-Neel '84
22 Nov 05
I heard from Mr. Leonard yesterday.........he had just received his letter with the Gift Card(s) to Border's Book Store. He was literally overwhelmed! Shock might be the more appropriate word as he finds it hard to believe that so many would want to do this for him.
Believe it or not he already has a list of books he wants to replace and will be going to Border's today!!! .........like a child in a candy store he's anxious to get his hands on some history books! He informed that he reads in part some kind of history book daily.......so I firmly believe by making this purchase we hit the ball out of the ballpark!
He wanted to know if "I forced you all to participate" .......I assured him........."Mr. Leonard you had that kind of impact on your students.....they asked me what they could do for you!
Strangely, in our conversation via phone last night he mentioned that a lot of students referred to Mr. Sullivan and him in the same breath, both for their style of teaching w/humor and to avoid Rekucki's class. I informed I would have to read him some of the Sullivan Memories on our site.........as indeed he was mentioned several times.
my best, Jeri
2 Nov 05
To all those that contributed to Mr. Leonard's Fund:
Please know that the Border's Gift Card will be purchased and sent to him next week. Mr. Leonard informed me that he just completed the paperwork and stood in a long line at his local Post Office yesterday to establish delivery at his new abode. He asked that we wait a few more days before sending anything to make sure "Delivery Actually Works" during this hurricane rebuilding process.
The letter with ALL the contributors listed by name and class year has already been prepared and will go out when he gives the go-ahead.
Thanks to ALL who participated in this cause.
my best, Jeri
24 Oct 05
Mr. Leonard has bought a house! He closes on Tuesday and moves in on Wednesday. He will still be in Metairie but in a section undamaged. The interior of his old home has now been gutted and is only a shell. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to savage ANYTHING and as yet has not seen an insurance adjuster. As of today he has ordered a refrigerator and a bed to be delivered on Wednesday. His days now are consumed with trying to buy furniture and household items.......plates, glasses and the like.
He sounds so much better but still remarked that he felt once he moves in the realty of losing all his books and CD's will hit him hard.......so we think we're on the right path with purchasing our Border's Gift Card for him!
If you would like to contribute to the Gift Card you still have time. Please see the information posted below for details.
Please continue to call him......this isn't an easy process for anyone and with his advance age and very little family it's even harder. He needs to know we care!
Demonstrate the BERLIN spirit!!!
12 Oct 05
Mr. Leonard is back in the New Orleans area. He is presently working with the Real Estate agent Rose (Hanson) Neel '84 found for him and expects to be in a rental within the next couple of weeks. He NOW HAS A CELL PHONE!
His birthday is coming up soon ~ October 14th. So ring and wish him a Happy Birthday!!!!
2 Oct 05
Mr. Leonard has checked out of the Holiday Inn in Prattville and is enroute back to the New Orleans area. He does not have a cellphone so once he gets resettled and has a new contact number we will post that here.
If you still wish to contribute to the BERLIN Brat Fund for him please do so now by sending your donation payable to the BERLIN Brats but mailed to:
Pat Little/BERLIN Brats
1663 Arthur Ave
Melbourne, FL 32935
Be sure and enter "Mr. Leonard's Fund" in the memo line followed by your name and Class Year.
26 Sept 05
As noted in a previous post below Mr. Leonard is very anxious to return to the New Orleans area. Since most hotels in the general vicinity are all booked with evacuees and first responders we have convinced him to stay put until we are able to secure lodging for him both enroute to New Orleans from Prattville, AL and some temporary or permanent rental in the general New Orleans/Metairie vicinity.
To that measure, Rose (Hanson) Neel '84 has stepped forward to conduct research for him. Rose has been actively working the phones and internet to locate an acceptable apartment or home to rent.
She has a very promising lead and we hope to have a rental house secured for him shortly.
Meanwhile Mr. Leonard has received calls from several of you. He really does appreciate these and wishes to thank you!
19 Sep 05
We have been hearing from quite a few of you asking how or what we could do for Mr. Leonard. Since he has lost his home and personal belongings contributing money seems the easiest solution. However, Mr. Leonard is a proud man and several of us who have spoken to him believe he would not accept money. (....additionally he has informed that he is okay money wise having paid off his house, has some investments, and is covered by insurance).
The three things he seems to be the most distraught about is losing his personal library (ie: history books), his CD collection (he loves his music) and his BERLIN yearbooks.
Therefore after consulting with several who have spoken to him (ie: Mark Phelps '73, Mr. Adam Hildenbrand-FAC, Pat (Martel) Little '72, and Rose (Hanson) Neel '84 to name just a few) we propose starting a BERLIN Brats Funds to purchase a rather large (...hopefully) Border's Gift Card. Mr. Leonard could then spend time rebuilding his personal passion of both books and CD's.
To tackle the third item I will be bringing one or two of the BERLIN yearbooks we offer For Sale on our website to the Reunion next summer and have EVERYONE write a personal message to him.
If you would like to contribute please mail your contribution to:
Pat Little/BERLIN Brats
1663 Arthur Ave
Melbourne, FL 32935
Please indicate "Mr. Leonard's Fund" on the memo line of your check and add your name and class year.
We will then submit the Gift Card in a Hallmark card with everyone's name listed.
In the meantime please call him! All he is capable of doing right now is sitting in a hotel room provided by FEMA in Prattville, Alabama. He may be relocating in a few days and we will attempt to keep you all posted.
Thank you so much for your concern and your desire to contribute in some small way.
Jeri (Polansky) Glass '72
September 15, 2005
Tim Shaw '85, reconnected with BERLIN American High School's beloved US and European History teacher, Mr. Leonard. Tim was in the Montgomery area golfing with his father-in-law that day, one day after Tim's wife, Jenni Hewitt Shaw '85, heard Mr. Leonard had been displaced to Prattville, AL, a suburb of Montgomery, AL. Jenni called Mr. Leonard immediately upon hearing of his situation and made arrangements for Tim to meet Mr. Leonard the next afternoon for a cup of coffee and a boxful of memories.
It's hard to tell who enjoyed the visit more, Tim or Mr. Leonard, but one thing is for sure there is a connection that is hard to sever among BERLINers, students and teachers alike. We pray for the safe return of Mr. Leonard to his home in New Orleans where he was born and raised. Mr. Leonard plans to rebuild his life in Metairie (a bedroom community of New Orleans). While some of his material memories, such as yearbooks, history books, pictures and Russian memorabilia are gone with the wind, his memories of the BERLIN era of his life remain strong, his spirit stronger and his final thoughts to Tim were "When they write about it, I hope they get it right." But what else is a history teacher supposed to think?
13 Sep 05
Dear BERLIN Brats,
I am safe. I didn't evacuate but rode out the storm in a Sheraton Hotel in Metairie LA. It was terrifying. After the storm ended, the National Guard evacuated me (and others) to a hospital. When the hospital was evacuated I was sent to the overpass where buses were supposed to pick us up to take us from the city. The buses never arrived and there were 10,000 people waiting for the buses, pushing and shoving. The heat index was 110 degrees. The dead and dying were everywhere. Things were out of control and there were few policemen or soldiers to keep order. No organization.
I had a heat stroke. They laid me out on Interstate-10 which was full of dirt and grease. I had fainted and finally I was tossed in an ambulance and taken to the airport. It was being used as a triage for the sick, it was not operating. The airport is getting bad publicity because a lot of people were sick and dying there. I was taken in the ambulance to the city of Lafayette and left in the emergency ward. I was able to contact a nephew who brought me to where my niece was. My nephew couldn't help because his business transferred immediately to Memphis and he had to go there. My brother is somewhere in north Alabama and being taken care of, but in poor health.
I am in really bad health. I am 79 years old. I always told you there was life after BERLIN American High School.
Allan J. Leonard
(sent by a distant relative, Jim Kerlin)
As a follow up, I spoke to Mr Leonard tonight. FEMA is paying for him to stay in this hotel for 2 weeks. His nephew's company has transferred him out of town and his niece already has 15 living with her so he opted for the FEMA option.
He has suffered a mini-stroke in addition to the above suffering. He is alone except for a cousin who comes by and takes him out for meals.
During all his transfers he was able to get back and view his house which is destroyed. His car was recovered but is in a different town from his present location.
I have offered him my home (in AZ) but he is insistent on staying close to the area as he would like to get into an apartment in the New Orleans area when people are allowed back in. He feels the availability will be limited and wants to make sure he is immediately there when the time comes.
He has been able to order his meds and has access to his funds. As for personal property all he has is what he managed to squeeze into 2 plastic garage bags.
He has promised to call before leaving the hotel and I will check on him every few days. He has no cell phone nor access to a computer.
He would however love to hear from you. Obviously he is very depressed and at 79, with failing health, this is going to be very difficult for him to handle. A distant cousin in North Carolina is helping him long distance with filing FEMA claims.
I'm sure his situation will change daily. Ideally, in the short term, it would be nice if we could find someone in the general vicinity for him to stay with; at least until he can move back to the Metairie area.
At this juncture he would like to have his lot cleared and then sell, moving into an apt in the same general area.
Again, please call him. He needs to know we care and are thinking of him. By the end of our call there was a huge difference in his tone.
Thank you so much,
Jeri (Polansky) Glass '72
7 Sep 05
Many of you have asked about one of our favorite, former teachers, Mr. Allan J. Leonard, who taught at BAHS from 1969 to 1987, and who lives in Metairie, LA. (a bedroom community of New Orleans).
Mr. Leonard is single, lives alone and because of medical problems does not travel anymore. It is felt he may not have evacuated. We believe he does have a brother living nearby and perhaps with that connection he did? We have no way of knowing at this point. The BERLIN Brats have registered him as a "missing person" on the Red Cross site, the Nola.com (the specific New Orleans site) and craigslist.com per recommendations from the local networks.
Mr. Leonard did not own a computer and will probably not think to post himself as being safe should he be out of harm's way. It is hoped that if evacuated by the local or federal officials, he will show up on some official list AND alert us.
As soon as we learn anything we will post that information here.
Mr. Leonard is not the only BERLIN Brat affected by Hurricane Katrina. However he is elderly, single, living alone, non-driving and suffering from medical aliments that we know of.
Should you have any information that you can share please do so at: BERLINBrats@gmail.com Thank you.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrible national disaster. We encourage you do whatever you are capable of to help those in need.
Please contact us at if you have any additions/corrections/deletions. And ideas!
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