William (Bill) Leopard was truly a one-of-a-kind gentleman of the world. He was born August 14, 1919 in Melrose, MN the first child to Howard and Bertha Leopard, sister Mary Louise later joined the family. He grew up in that state, graduating from the St. Cloud Technical High School in 1937. Not letting any grass grow under his feet, Bill got a job as office boy at the St. Cloud Daily Times the very next week, unaware that this would be the beginning of a long and notable career in the field of journalism.
The years 1942-1945 were consumed by Bill's service specializing in communications and coding for the Army Air Corps during World War II. During that time he was able to carve out three important days to fly back to Minnesota (with borrowed money) and get a five day waiver in getting a marriage license (it's all about who you know) in order to marry the love-of-his life, Mary Uhan in June, 1943. Bill always had an incredible memory for detail and, even in his 90's, could not only name his tent mates and buddies during his time in the service, but recall their personalities and home states as well as every room and restaurant he and his new wife frequented in those very early years of their marriage.
Bill ended his military career as an Air Force Sergeant and returned to the Midwest where he began working as Classified Manager for the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader newspaper. He continued to grow his career through multiple owners, the last being Gannett Newspapers. During this career he was named General Manager in 1958 and became President/Publisher in 1963, a position he held until retirement in 1977. Ironically, before his retirement, he was instrumental in helping Gannett purchase the St. Clouds Times.
Bill Leopard was known for his gregarious nature and generosity – of spirit, his time and his good fortune. He served as President of the Association of Classified Advertising Managers (ACAM), and on the boards of Speidel Newspapers, Inc., Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Empire Fair, and Leopard, Inc. Bill was also patron of The Great Plains Zoo (securing their first giraffe), Nebraska Children's Home, Munroe Meyer Institute, Fontenelle Forest and Omaha Children's Hospital.
Family, travel, sports and pheasant hunting filled his 97 plus years. He became a doting father to his daughter Susan in June, 1955 and the family, as well as Bill and Mary after Susan was grown, had many opportunities to travel together before he was widowed in 1984. Later he continued to see the world with his sister Mary and her husband Bob and also with his daughter and son-in-law Sue and Tom Weidner and their children. His insatiable thirst for knowledge and new experiences eventually took him to every continent – multiple times – and he could recall all of the wonderful memories well into his later years.
Retirement afforded Bill the time to continue to pursue his love of sports, particularly to hone his tennis and golf games: Bill actually made a hole-in-one TWICE on the same course, SAME HOLE.
In 2007, Bill moved to Omaha to be close to family and he became a “regular” at his grandchildren's many sports and other activities.
Bill Leopard will be fondly remembered for so many things: his wit and dry humor, his intelligence and incredible memory, his generosity and philanthropy, his devotion to family.
He is survived by his daughter Susan Weidner, son-in-law Tom and grandchildren Sarah and Matthew of Omaha, NE; brother-in-law Robert Foley and numerous nieces and nephews in Minnesota.