LAKE PLACID – Independent. Intrepid. Stubborn.
When it comes to Tina Leonard’s eight years of blindness, these are some of the words that best describe her. The Lake Placid real estate broker – who died suddenly on Sunday, September 26 at the age of 63 – didn’t let blindness stop her from starting her own business, giving back to the community or being the best mother, wife, grandmother and sister she could be.
âShe didn’t let her life issues define her. She still found a way to persevere â, said Heather Perkins, co-chair of the Lake Placid Rotary Club, of which Leonard was a member for nearly 30 years.
In 2013, Leonard lost most of his sight due to complications from glaucoma. Even though she had to make major adjustments in her life, she never slowed down. In her own words – on Tina Leonard Real Estate’s website on September 14 – she began her first and only blog entry with a brief introduction:
âI may be blind, but my name is still Tina Leonard.
“I have learned to be blind so I can help people understand things like being patient, learning to pay attention to details, and learning to listen among many other things.”
With the blog, she wanted to show the public what it’s like to live a normal life. âAnd to help people understand how to treat others with respect. “
In a three-part series in the Lake Placid News in 2018, Leonard shared stories about his daily struggles with visual impairment. At the time, she had received a pair of eSight glasses worth $ 10,000, and after six months she learned that even though they had helped her in some way, they weren’t right for her. return sight.
“I’m sick of being blind” she said in December 2018. âIt’s hard for others to understand. I try to be optimistic, but I was very frustrated the other day. When I first get up in the morning my eyes are the worst, and when I get up and walk from my bedroom to the bathroom in my own house and I’m like, ‘People have no idea how difficult it is to be blind. Everything takes so much longer.
Still, there were some advantages to having the eSight glasses.
“I got to see my granddaughter and I got to see people’s faces” she said. “So for those reasons alone, I think they’re definitely worth it.”
Over the past three years, Leonard’s eyesight has not improved, but she has continued to grow her real estate business and be an active member of the Lake Placid community, particularly with her work at the Rotary Club.
In this regard, it could also be described as being “Inspiring”, same “heroic,” as Rotary club co-president Harris Semegram called him.
“It’s really personal heroism becauseâ¦ some people would just be defeated and be resigned to falling by the wayside, so to speak, but she didn’t let that stop her.” he said.
Service above you
Tina Marie Wilson was born on March 18, 1958 in Lake Placid, daughter of Donald Wilson and Gayle Wilson Trombley. She graduated from Lake Placid High School in 1975 and married Joseph Leonard in 1979. She worked at local businesses such as the Howard Johnson Restaurant and Key Bank before pursuing a career in real estate with the staff for many years of the Prudential Terry Horrocks Real. Estate office on the main street. In 2016, she opened Tina Leonard Real Estate in an office at the back of her McKinley Street home, specializing in the sale and rental of real estate.
While Leonard was well known in the real estate industry – active with the Northern Adirondack Board of Realtors (President 2000-2001) and NABOR 2002 Realtor of the Year – she was best known in the community as a helpful person. others.
That’s when words like “type,” “generous” and “kindness” enter the picture.
“I think Tina’s world,” said Perkins. âShe has done so much for our community over the years. She has always cared about the little one and makes sure people find a home. She really cared about everyone.
And regardless of which group she joined, she always managed to become its leader. She has served as president of organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Adirondack Business and Professional Women’s Club, the BNI Gold Medal Chapter, and the board of directors of the Thomas Shipman Sr. Memorial Youth Center.
âShe’s not giving up. She will push and push. She made things happen â, said Perkins.
When Lake Placid Youth Constable Thomas Shipman Sr. passed away suddenly in 1995, a group of residents came together to build a youth center, which was Shipman’s dream. Leonard quickly became the chairman of the board.
“She just picked it up and ran with it and figured out how to do it”, said Perkins. “There were so many people involved in it, but it was really her who picked it up when he passed away and made sure that dream didn’t die and made sure it came true.”
The Shipman Youth Center opened in June 1999.
“It’s been three long years,” Leonard told the News at the time. âIt’s been a challengeâ¦ but it’s worth it. “
With his many contributions to the community over the years, friends and family have known the “tireless” and “worker” Leonardo’s side.
She has also been active in the Lake Placid Pee Wee Association and a proud founding member of the Tri-Lakes Business and Networking Group, as Regional Director, President, Vice President, Membership Committee Member, Education Coordinator. and mentor for new members.
Thinking of Rotary Club meetings, Perkins thought of another word to describe Leonard: “Creative.”
“She always had good ideas”, said Perkins. âWe would say, ‘How are we going to be successful? And Tina would find a way out. â¦ I feel like we are so lost, losing her. She was an important part of our club and the way we did the things we did. “
A member of the Rotary Club since 1994, Leonard has served twice as president and recently worked with colleague Debbie McLean for 16 years on the annual Dam Duck Race, an event that has raised thousands of dollars to help fund projects. community. During the event, people sponsor yellow rubber ducks, which are numbered, and they are dropped at the Mill Pond Dam behind Lisa G’s restaurant, descend the Chubb River, and are plucked out of the water by Rotary members. Club using fishing nets. The winners receive prizes.
This year’s race was very special as it raised a lot of money after being canceled last year due to the pandemic, according to Semegram.
âI remember her how happy she was at the end of the race that we could do so much good for our community,â he said. he said.
“Service above oneself” is the main motto of Rotary International, and these are words Leonard lived through every day.
âShe was always on the lookout for fellow Rotarians to guide them in doing something right, and she was always available to take on projects despite her very busy schedule, whether it was organizing speakers to present to the club or organize a breakfast for the club, “ said Semegram. “She was always ready to take that one step further.”
“Grateful” is another word to describe Leonard.
There is a time in every Rotary Club meeting when members can donate a dollar to the general fund, citing something they are thankful for. It’s called Happy Dollars.
On May 24, 2018, while wearing her eSight glasses for the first time in a meeting, Leonard collected three dollars. First dollar: She was grateful for the story about her in the May 18 issue of the Lake Placid News titled, âSight Pledge: Community Raises $ 10,000 to Help Tina Leonard See Again. “ Second dollar: She told the group that she had donated over $ 1,000 to a 9-year-old girl in Colorado to help her buy a pair of eSight glasses. Third Dollar: She was grateful for the faces she had seen in Rotary that day.
“It has been amazing to sit here and see some of you”, she said. âI didn’t know what these people looked like. I have chills. I’m just in tears. â¦ You can’t believe how amazing it is.