"Ask any pilot how they started flying and you will hear a love story…" – Captain Eric Auxier
It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Travis Lee Leonard. He was the most beautiful of souls and endured far more than most in order to be with the ones he loved for as long as he could.
Travis was born September 8th, 1976, to Glenn and Rebecca Leonard in Wilmington, Delaware. He was raised mostly in Marquette, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, looking out from his bedroom window onto Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. As a teenager, the family moved to Euless, Texas, between Fort Worth and Dallas, where Travis would graduate high school. Travis received a degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and began a career in aviation, as his father had done before him. It was always Travis’ true passion to fly.
Travis’ father began teaching him to fly when he was 12 years old and by 18 he was a licensed pilot. He loved to fly and anything to do with aviation. But the most important thing he loved was his wife of twenty years, JulieAnne and their four kids and shared with anyone who would listen how proud he was of them. The children, all having aviation-related names, were a testament to the aviation theme that stayed with Travis throughout his life. He had a truly extraordinary mind, remembering most of everything he ever read (but not where his keys or wallet were) and he was the ultimate debater, until he met his wife, with whom he either lost, gave up or gave in. Travis and JulieAnne had a beautiful marriage of friendship and commitment that was a testament to true love. He often stated she was his “true north”, and their love was tangible to anyone in their presence, second only to their love for their children. Pratt (13), Trent (Bear - 8), Piper Jean (7) and Wren (7) were the light of Travis’ life, and he was a hands-on dad who showered his wife and children with love daily. Three of their four children were adopted and much of Travis’ work in recent years was in advocating for children in foster care by working with his wife in her law practice. Travis loved unconditionally his wife’s parents, Jimmy and Cathy and cherished their daughter on a daily basis in their presence, giving them a joy that most in-laws would be jealous of. He was a loving and present son for his parents and brother, always there, consistently via email and for breakfast with his dad often. Not always an easy person to truly get to know, Travis had a huge and generous heart and would work tirelessly to help his wife with any and everything, reasonable or not, or to research for hours on end and find answers to any issue for the people he cared about. His only interest or joy was his wife and family and to that he remained steadfast. To truly know Travis and to get to love him was a gift few people were blessed with and a gift none of them will ever forget.
Travis took off, against the wind as it were, on his last flight that would not land. He was preceded in death by only a few weeks, by his adoring father-in-law, Jimmy Dwight Hufstedler. He is survived by his beloved wife JulieAnne Hufstedler Leonard and their four precious children Pratt, Trent “Bear”, Piper Jean and Wren, his parents Glenn and Rebecca Leonard, his brother and sister-in-law Torr and Julie Leonard, his mother-in-law Cathy Mathis Hufstedler and aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that were family.
Travis Leonard will always be remembered as a loving and adoring husband, a doting and always present father, a respected and brilliant aviator and aviation consultant, a loyal and loving brother and a giving son-in-law. His enjoyments included cooking, traveling, & most importantly spending time with his family. He leaves behind a legacy of loving without limits as the theme for his life. He will be dearly missed but will always be in the heavens with the sound of every plane that passes overhead. As he so often heard the sound of a plane and looked up, so will we, look up to remember him, always flying, now free.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate his life on Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 1pm at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, Capitan, NM. A meal will be served and therefore you are asked to kindly notify the family of your expected attendance by providing your name and the number in your party via text to 505-301-5744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Heart Gallery of New Mexico Foundation whose mission focuses on "hard-to-place" and at-risk foster children. https://www.heartgallerynmfoundation.org/
Condolences may be sent directly to the family on the memorial Facebook page for Travis at https://fb.me/RememberingTravisLeonard
“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will return.” -Leonardo da Vinci