Edward J. Leonard, our truly loved husband, father, father in law and grandfather, died Saturday, Dec. 28 at his home in Maryland. He was 87. His wife Ann, his children and grandchildren were with him. Edward was a longtime summer resident of Aquinnah.
Edward’s pleasures included a love for travel and new places. His last overseas adventure, despite his advancing Parkinson’s disease, was a trip to Ethiopia with his son David. At home in Maryland, he spent his free time in the garden, at the compost pile, with his gooseberries, fixing all and sundry items in the house and yard, and tending his bees. Summers on the Vineyard were spent bushwhacking through the brush in Gay Head, canoeing in Vineyard Sound, spearfishing for tautog and listening to long tales from his children. A master gardener, Edward’s care for and interest in flora was an abiding part of his life. In retirement, he spent hours taking photographs and identifying natural and invasive flora in Aquinnah and around the Island.
A graduate of Boston Public Latin School, Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, Edward was one of the original Clinical Fellows at the National Institutes of Health. Edward retired from a 49-year career at the NIH, where he was director of the Immunopathology Section in the Laboratory of Immunobiology of the National Cancer Institute. His research focused on macrophages and neutrophils, with identification of key chemo-attractant factors. His scientific accomplishments were complemented by an equal commitment to his devoted mentoring of postdoctoral fellows.
We miss him greatly, while remembering he had a long and good life filled with adventure, love, family and science. We remember his strength, his loyalty, his dedication to family, his determination and focus and the life he opened up for us in a multitude of ways.
Most important, his real love was his family and friends — friendships that flourished for a lifetime. He leaves behind his wife Ann; his children, Michael, Julie, David, Claudia and Ethan; his children-in-law Meg, Joel, Kim and Amanda, and 11 grandchildren.