Cover photo for Ralph Avery Leonard's Obituary
Ralph Avery Leonard Profile Photo
1937 Ralph 2020

Ralph Avery Leonard

March 2, 1937 — December 5, 2020

Tifton, Georgia

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Ralph Avery Leonard at 11:00 on Saturday, March 20th in the chapel of Albritton Funeral Directors. Officiating will be Reverend Dr. Jarred Hammet of First Presbyterian Church, where Dr. Leonard was a member and had served as an Adult Sunday School teacher and Elder. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Ralph was born in Franklin Co. North Carolina to the late William Henry and Gladys Bledsoe Leonard. He was preceded in death by a sister and brother-in-law, Janet L. and Donald Wester and nephew, Len Wester.

Ralph grew up on a tobacco and hog farm in North Carolina. After graduating from Gold Sand High School, he received his BS, MS, and Ph. D degrees in Soil Chemistry from North Carolina State, Purdue, and North Carolina State Universities respectively. In 1966, he joined USDA ARS at the Southeast Piedmont Research Center in Watkinsville, GA. In 1978, he joined the Southeast Watershed Research at the Richard B. Russell Center in Athens. In 1980, he transferred to the Southeast Watershed and Engineering Lab in Tifton, where he remained until retirement. He served as a Research Leader and was involved in research on ground water quality and model development of pesticides transport.

After retirement, Ralph enjoyed hunting, fishing, cooking, woodworking, and gardening. He also enjoyed cooking and serving at the Soup Kitchen in Tifton. Ralph is survived by his wife of sixty two years, Betsy Pearce Leonard; son and special friend, Mark A. Leonard of Raleigh, NC and Alice Merrill, Chapel Hill, NC; son and daughter-in-law, David Leonard and Signe Kastberg of W. Lafayette, IN; daughter and son-in-law, Lori and Philip Hamby of Tifton; granddaughters, Sara Thrash, Anna Kate Thrash, Mariliz Kastberg Leonard of Athens, GA, Marianna Kastberg Leonard of Zionsville, IN; brother-in-law and wife, Bill and Jane Pearce of Raleigh, NC, and his beloved dog, Lizzie.

The family wishes to express their thanks to his caregivers, Loverne Cooper, Gloria Ross, Orlean Bass, Faye Hall, and Georgia Home Health Care, Palliative Care, and Tift Area Hospice for their excellent care.  Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church or to one’s choice.

Albritton Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Avery Leonard, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Albritton Funeral Directors

1020 Tift Avenue North, Tifton, GA 31794

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