Farragut’s 1st ‘First Lady,’ Marie Leonard, 96, passes

Marie Leonard, the Town of Farragut’s 1st “First Lady” who played a vital role in helping present the new Town of Farragut with dignity during a critical period in the early 1980s, has passed away at age 96 (see her obituary in Community section, page 8B).

“She was one of the finest ladies that you could ever know,” said former Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford, an ex-South Ward alderman and the Town’s first vice mayor who was particularly close to Mrs. Leonard and her husband, the late Robert “Bob” Leonard, a highly respected attorney and the Town’s first Mayor (1980-1993) who passed away in 2012.

“Her personality was ideally suited to be the First Lady of the Town of Farragut,” he added.

In meetings with other leaders of Knox and surrounding town and county governments, “Marie was always by Bob’s side, always friendly, always talking to everyone,” Ford said.

“They presented an image of a stable environment for this new Town of Farragut,” he added, conveying the Town “was being led by responsive leadership and quality people, and that was an image that was important for the Town in those early years.

“Her heart was in this Town. ... The Town, the community has lost another great person.”

“Marie and Bob Leonard were great pioneers for Farragut,” said Doug Horne, a prominent Farragut real estate developer and owner of Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress. “They were leaders and set a great example for the Town in the very beginning.

“The Town got off to kind of a shaky start, but Marie and Bob Leonard were a strong force that helped keep it on the right path,” he added.