Leonard, Floyd Ernest: longtime Miami Nation chief, passes at 82

Miami, Oklahoma (AP) 3-08

Floyd Ernest Leonard, the longtime chief of the Miami Nation, passed away March 8, tribal officials said.

Leonard, 82, passed away in a Joplin, Mo., hospital following an unspecified illness. He spent 27 years as the Miami Nation’s chief.

“He was a great man and a great chief,” said Tom Gamble, the tribe’s second chief.

Leonard was born in Picher in 1925 and served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. He began serving the Miami Nation in elected positions in 1953, and first became chief in 1974, serving eight years.

He returned as the tribe’s chief in 1989 and served until his death.

“I always found Chief Leonard to be interested in Indian affairs,” said Wyandotte Nation Chief Leaford Bearskin. “He supported all programs, locally and nationally. ... He was a wonderful chief.”

Leonard is survived by his wife of 61 years, Patricia. Funeral services were held March 11 at the Miami Nation cemetery.