Cover photo for James "Jimmy" L. Leonard's Obituary
1942 Jimmy 2023

James "Jimmy" L. Leonard

January 21, 1942 — December 4, 2023

Morehead City

James "Jimmy" L. Leonard, 81, of Morehead City, North Carolina, left his earthly home on Monday, December 4, 2023.

A graveside service to honor Jimmy’s life will be held at 12 p.m., Monday, December 11th at Gethsemane Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Sunday, December 10th at Munden Funeral Home.

Jimmy was born on January 21, 1942, in Wilmington, North Carolina, to the late L.B. Leonard and Pearl O. Morse Leonard. The family moved to Carteret County in 1949, and when Jimmy was old enough, he worked with his dad at the family business, Leonard’s Metal Shop. After high school, he went to school in Wilmington to learn Heating and Air Conditioning and worked in that field for many years in the family business.

At a young age, Jimmy joined the Young Fire Fighter Group in Atlantic Beach and continued throughout the years as a volunteer. With a passion for helping others, Jimmy was inspired, with others in the community, to form the first Rescue Squad in Atlantic Beach. In the early 80’s a paid department was formed, and Jimmy became the first Fire Chief of Atlantic Beach. He demonstrated exemplary leadership and unmatched dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of the community he loved. Recognizing the importance of education, Jimmy generously shared his extensive firefighting knowledge by teaching courses at the local college throughout his career. Jimmy retired from the Fire Department in 2002 after faithfully serving and protecting the community.

Outside of his professional life, Jimmy enjoyed the simplicity of life's pleasures, fishing and hunting being his favorite.

Those remaining to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Darlene Leonard, daughter, Jaime Leonard Smith; granddaughter, Hayden Smith; brothers, Jerry Leonard (BJ), Terry Leonard (Deby Boyce); sister-in-law, Tammie Smith; brother-in-law, Larry Richter; nephews, great niece, and great nephew.

In addition to his parents, Jimmy was preceded in death by his brother, David Leonard; sister, Mary Leonard Richter; and sister-in-law, Kathy Smith Higgins.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to the Atlantic Beach Fire Department 125 W. Fort Macon Rd., Atlantic Beach, NC 28512, or the Carteret County Humane Society, 853 Hibbs Rd., Newport, NC 28570.

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jimmy" L. Leonard, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, December 10, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

2112 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, December 11, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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