|Staff Sergeant Benny Joe
Benny Joe Leonard Sr., age 79, of Blaine, Tennessee, (and Morristown, Tennessee in his youth) passed away Sunday, September 21, 2014, after a battle with cancer. Ben, also known as Joe or BJ to his friends, is survived by his wife of 60 years, Gladys, and four children: Timothy W. Leonard Sr. of IN, Harry L. Leonard of SC, Benny J. Leonard Jr. of TN., and Amy (and husband Howard) Hammel of Ohio. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by a great-granddaughter, Alysia Lynn Leonard. Ben was a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served in the United States Air Force, where he earned several medals for his dedication and bravery, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the U.S. Vietnam Service Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and too many more to name. He was a proud member of the C-7A Caribou Assoc. [457th]. In later years, Ben worked for the U.S. Post Office and enjoyed meeting and getting to know the people of the communities in which he worked. It was often said that he never met a stranger. Services were held at Smith-Reagan Funeral Home in Rutledge, Tennessee, Thursday, Sept. 25. Ben had a special place in his heart for charities that help others and the family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to a local charity helping low-income cancer patients in East Tennessee: Compassion in Action, Attn: Janine Mingie, 3201 Chantilly Dr., Knoxville, TN 37917; for credit card donations, please call (865) 607-9664.