Steven Leonard, 68, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 27, 2020 in his home in Succasunna, N.J. after a long illness. Steve was a fighter and always fought his way back after each hospitalization. His strength to accomplish this was an inspiration to us all. He was born on March 15, 1952 in Port Hueneme, California, to Dorothy Mullen Leonard, deceased, and Edward Hubel of Jacksonville, Florida. He was raised in Bronx, N.Y. and New York City, N.Y. where he attended Stuyvesant High School and received special commendations for science and math.
Steve is survived by his significant other, best friend and caregiver, Cynthia Burgio of Succasunna, N.J.; a daughter, Jessica Leonard Kargulewicz and a son-in-law, Jan Kargulewicz of Wayne, Pennsylvania; a son, Daniel Leonard of Ringwood, N.J.; three sisters, Michele Leonard of Bronx, N.Y.; Lisa Ahearn of Salisbury, Maryland; and Nicole Corry of New Church, Virginia; and two nieces and four nephews.
As a young man, Steve learned to work hard taking on whatever job was available to support himself. He began his career as an engineer responsible for facility lighting and audio responsibilities in public function spaces. His career progressed to Convention Service Manager and to Sales Manager for Sheraton Corporation, then to New York Regional Manager for Receptions Plus, Association Sales Manager and Director of Convention Services at Headquarters Plaza Hotel in Morristown N.J. Hard work resulted in a successful career in the exhibition and hospitality industry in New York City where he was the Convention Sales Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing at The Milford Plaza followed by Director of Sales and Marketing at The Hotel Pennsylvania.
Steve was also active in many hospitality affiliations; NSAE, NYSAE, ESSAE, HSMAI, PCMA and a board member for IAEE (NYIAEE). In 2016, Steve was presented the “Distinguished Service Award” in recognition of his extraordinary service and contributions at both the local and national level to his chapter, NYIAEE. He was celebrated as a role model for the industry.
If you knew Steve, it would not take you long to recognize that he had an “over-the-top” zest for living life to the fullest; not wanting to miss any experience that was available to him and Helen Keller would agree, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. His enthusiasm to live life to the fullest was infectious. The National Dog Show, The CMA Awards, black tie events, sumo wrestling, visiting the Bronx Zoo, traveling to The Great Wall, (because seeing it on television was not enough), and let’s not forget sitting behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, were just a few examples of his conquests. But, without a doubt, his most favorite days were those spent searching for any turtle that he could find after spontaneously stopping his car whenever and wherever he saw a viable habitat.
His life was not all about self-gratification. He had the biggest heart and would help anyone. On “Cares Day” in New York City he painted murals and classrooms in city schools. On holidays, he volunteered to serve and deliver meals to those in need. During the “Blackout”, Steve drove to all parts of New York City to find one of the only open restaurants to buy pizzas for everyone. The portrait of Steve’s life story was not just a collection of milestones. Instead, it was how he lived, and we will honor and preserve what made him unique to all of us.
Rest in peace Steve. Until we meet again.
Friends and family are welcome to express condolences through the link on this site. Celebrate his life and remember the times you spent with him.
To the living I am gone. To the
sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated. But to the
happy, I am at peace.
And to the faithful, I have never left. I
cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So, as you stand upon a shore, gazing at
a beautiful sea-remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest
and its grand majesty-remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire
its simplicity-remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your
thoughts, your memories of the times
The times we cried, the times we
fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will
never be gone.