ANDOVER — The sudden death of Dr. Jeffrey Leonard, a prominent orthodontist and strong supporter of the town’s youth hockey program, jolted the community.
Leonard died at his Andover home Nov. 23. He was 49.
“He was a really special guy,” said state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, who noted that hundreds of people waited in the cold Friday afternoon and evening to offer their condolences to Leonard’s family at the Conte Funeral Home at 28 Florence St.
Finegold, whose children were treated by Leonard, said other orthodontists are pitching in to make sure his patients receive the care they need. Despite her grief, Leonard’s wife, Angel, insisted that his patients receive a “continuation of care,” Finegold said.
“It’s what makes a good community a great community,” he added.
Timothy Bennett, vice president of member relations for the Andover Hockey Association, in which Leonard’s sons Dylan and Matthew played, expressed gratitude for both his professional skill and dedication to the hockey program.
“Jeff was a constant presence at the rink, supporting his sons on the ice and off it,” Bennett wrote in an email. “Personally not only did we see him often at the rink but he was also my sons’ orthodontist and provided them with an excellent standard of care. We would often chat after their appointments about hockey, kids and life in general. We will all miss him and extend our sincere condolences to Angel, his sons, his parents and his entire family.”
Leonard was a longtime sponsor of the Andover Hockey Association and its endeavors, including the annual Heseltine Thanksgiving Tournament, according to Bennett.
Leonard Orthodontics has offices in Andover, North Andover and Amesbury. The practice was started in 1974 by Leonard’s father, Dr. Thomas Leonard. Leonard graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1988.
David DeFillippo, a former principal of Central Catholic, said he was an outstanding student and was inducted into the National Honor Society. He played on Central’s first soccer team and was active in the school’s ski club. His soccer prowess earned him recognition as a Merrimack Valley Conference all-star, according to DeFillippo.
Leonard excelled in science and math and was “always focused on his future,” DeFillippo said. He also recalled Leonard’s “very outgoing personality.”
Leonard earned a bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University. He received his professional training at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. After completing his residency in orthodontics, he joined his father’s practice in 1998. Ten years later, he took charge of the business.
Besides his wife and sons, he is survived by his parents, Thomas and Lois Leonard; a sister, Suzanne; and a brother, Russell. He was the brother of the late Jonathan Leonard.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Augustine Church, 43 Essex St.