Cicero Leonard, 95 years of age, peacefully departed this life on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 at home surrounded by family in Columbia, SC, Wildewood Downs Retirement Community. Cicero was born the fifth child of fourteen children to the late Bidge and Sallie Godbolt Leonard on June 9, 1922 in Mullins, SC. He was educated in the public school system of Marion County, SC. He attended Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Mullins, SC where he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and began an abiding relationship. Cicero served in the United States Navy in World War II as a Steward’s Mate 2C. He received the American Camp Medal, Point System and the World War II Victory Medal.
Cicero met his beautiful bride, Getha (Elliot) Leonard and married her November 8, 1948 in Marion, SC. They have been together ever since to this day for 69 years and had seven children. In 1969, they relocated to Washington, DC where he worked at the historical 5th Street Market during the time of intense racial prejudice. Due to his hard work and discipline, he was recognized and promoted to a managerial position. Being focused and personable, he was sought out by S&R Supermarket where he worked long hard hours to take care of his wife and seven children until his health failed. Cicero had strength and determination that exceeded many expectations. He was a man blessed with many gifts and talents by serving while in the United States Navy. He became a fighter where he only lost one fight. He passed on his big heart to his sons, and mainly to his boxing legend son, “Sugar Ray Leonard.” He was a tremendous gardener and he once grew a 65 pound cabbage and a 7 foot sun-flower plant. He was a great fisherman too. Due to him growing up in the south he was well-versed in farming. He grew beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, peaches and other vegetables. But more importantly, he was a man that exemplified to his sons how to be a man of God and how to take care of your family and to his daughters what to look for in a man. There was nothing Cicero wouldn’t do for Getha and his kids. Cicero enjoyed sitting in his easy chair, alongside his wife, watching their favorite TV shows while sipping hot coffee. It was the Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and the morning news.
Cicero Leonard wants to pass his humorous life philosophy: “Let go of family feuds! Spend quality time with your family, loved ones and friends. Do what’s right and do what’s good. Be kind and help others. The world can always use one more kind person and if you can take it one step further, please do it for people close to my age.”
Cicero is survived by his loving wife, Getha. Four sons; one who preceded his death Roy (Joyce), Kenneth (Cathy), Roger (Gail), Ray (Bernadette); 3 daughters Linda “Bunny,” Sandra (Billy) and Sharonette. The family also includes 21 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. Plus, he leaves to mourn a special grandchild Randy Yang in the U.S. Army. He is also survived by two sisters, Elizabeth Legette and Alithe Harrison and a host of numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.