Attorney and longtime Fort Worth resident Billy Alexander “Bill” Leonard, 79, died at home on Sunday, April 6, 2014.
Born in Cleburne, Texas, to Jesse Dodson and Carrie Lee Alexander Leonard on Jan. 30, 1935, Bill grew up and attended school in Cleburne, graduating in May 1953. Bill played football for Cleburne High under the legendary Coach Brooks W. Conover. Bill matriculated at Texas Technological University in 1953 where he played football and graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance. Bill was a lifelong fan of the Fighting Cleburne Yellow Jackets and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Although he had been a Coast Guard reservist, Bill joined the Army in 1957 and spent two years stationed at Fort Collins, Colo., where he played football and baseball for the base teams and was company clerk. Bill said he was named company clerk because he was the only recruit foolish enough to raise his hand when the sergeant asked who among them could type. While stationed in Colorado, Bill became engaged to Cleburne native Janet “Jan” Turner and the two married at First Baptist Church in Cleburne in 1959.
Jan preceded Bill in death in November 2013. Bill and Jan had three children, Ben Dodson Leonard, Bake Roberts Leonard and Mollie Kathryn Renforth née Leonard.
In the early years of their marriage, Bill worked in oil field equipment sales in far west Texas. Bill and Jan divorced in 1965. In 1966, Bill enrolled at Baylor School of Law in Waco, Texas, and began classes the same day his eldest son, Ben, began first grade. Bill earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree at Baylor in 1968 and was licensed to practice law in Texas in November of that year. Bill worked as a prosecutor at the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office for six years and was a felony court chief prosecutor when he left to begin his solo criminal law practice in 1974. Bill practiced criminal law for 45 years, maintaining offices in Cleburne and Fort Worth, Texas.