Matthew James Leonard III ( Jim) born May 23, 1943, went home to be with the Lord, on July14, 2016. After living with disabilities associated with diabetes and heart disease since 1985, he died from pneumonia.
He grew up Dayton, Ohio until the family moved to the LA area of California in 1953. He graduated from John Muir High School in 1961, and worked odd jobs and took classes at Pierce College, after high school.
He chose to join the Air Force in 1964, rather than wait to be drafted. He first became interested in planes while in high school, when his paternal grandfather came to live with them, for a short time. He listened to all the stories about his grandfather, when he had worked for Chrysler Corp. before and during WWII, and helped plan and construct a plant in Australia, where they built tanks and planes for the Army Air Force. His grandfather later worked to improve airplane engines in Detroit, as the war approached.
After Basic Training, Jim was stationed at Castle Air Force Base, in Merced, Calif., for four years, where he taught Airmen, on simulators, how to fly airplanes. It was during that time, where he married his first wife, Irene. They moved back to L.A. in 1988, and he remained in the Reserves until 1970, when his son, Matthew James Leonard IV, was born.
By 1970, he had graduated from Pierce College and enrolled in Chrysler Institute of Mechanical Engineering in L.A. After graduating from Chrysler Institute, he worked for AiResearch Division of Mack Trucks, as AID service engineer. After his divorce, he took a job with Garrett Industries, and flew all over the U.S., introducing turbo chargers as the way of the future of mechanical engineering.
Weary from traveling, he quit Garrett in 1974, to join the rest of his family in Fallbrook, Calif., where they owned Pala Mesa Resort. There he was CFO of Pala Mesa, and in charge of maintenance of the entire resort, until 1985 when he suffered a heart attack and required extensive heart surgery. He also found out he had diabetes at that time. After extensive cardiac rehab, he developed diabetic complications and was only able to work briefly in a private insurance co., real estate, and property management.
Since 1997, he has been married to wife, Juli. She changed jobs in 2000, to work as an R.N. at Fallbrook Hospital, to be closer to their home. She retired early in 2010, to take care of Jim. Later, they hired caregivers from Affordable and Quality Caregivers HCS in 2012. In June, 2016 he went to Christmas Cottage Assisted Living Facility in Hemet, where he was able to stay until he passed away with his wife at his bedside.
The family would like to give a special thanks to the above mentioned caregivers that cared for him and to Hope Hospice of Sun City, who helped him with comfort care. He died peacefully because of them.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., at Rancho Springs Community Church in Temecula, Calif., on Sept. 17, 2016, with reception to follow at noon. Donations can be made to Rancho Community Church – Missions Project in his memory, or the charity of their chose.