Rev. William Franklin Leonard

March 28, 2024

Rev. William Leonard Obituary

Reverend William Franklin Leonard was affectionately known by many names such as, "Frank", "Daddy Frank", "Rev", "Papa", and "Doc".  He was a beloved husband, father, and minister, who went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Thursday, March 28, 2024, at Solaris Healthcare.  After a lengthy and brave fight, Frank transitioned from earth to glory, at the age of eighty-three.

Frank was born, January 9, 1941, in Cleveland, Tennessee, to the late Hattie Leonard and George Spriggs.  He and his family later relocated to Lakeland, FL, where he attended the public schools of Polk County.  He graduated from Rochelle High School in 1960.  His theological accomplishments include a Diploma in Theology from Florida Seminary, a Bachelor's Degree in Ministry and a Honorary Doctorate in Theology, in 2004, from Blessed Hope Baptist College.

He began his ministry in 1965.  For 10 years, he was Assistant Pastor to Moderator H.M. Hamlin, at the Community M.B. Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He served under the late Moderator C.H. Bolden, as an Associate Pastor.  While serving at New Mt. Zion M.B. Church, he would see the girl of his dreams serving as a musician for the choir.  He declared that she would be his wife and began his pursuit.  On January 6, 1978, he married his sweetheart, Sylvia Leonard, with whom he raised a family in the great city of Plant City, Florida.

The first stop in his pastoral journey began at Jerusalem M.B. Church, in Mulberry, Florida.  He would later go on to begin a small ministry, Greater Faith Ministries, in Mulberry, Florida.  He would later lead Bethel M.B. Church, in Frostproof, Florida.  In 1985, the final stop in his journey, led him to Peace Progressive M.B. Church, where he would pastor an amazing congregation for 22 years. 

Frank was known as a gentle and generous man, who inspired people with his faith and hope in God.  He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, pastor, and friend.  He was serious about his work for the Lord, but he was also known for his sense of humor and amiable personality.  He had a deep love for God's people, especially the youth.  Most weekends, the family home was filled with the ministry's children.  More than that, he was passionate about ensuring that the family unit remained strong.  He enjoyed fishing, bowling swimming, cooking and entertaining with funny stories and humorous commentary.  He was a man of varied interests.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Hattie Leonard and George Spriggs; his brothers, Earnest Leonard and Thomas Leonard; his sister, Luvonia Leonard; and his niece Nikia Jones.

Those encouraged by his life and who remain to cherish his memory, are his wife, Sylvia (Ingram) Leonard; 4 children, Charles (Jessica) Samuel; Colette Samuel; Francine (Neil) Luckett; and Shasta Shaw.  He was the grandfather of Trenisse (Chris) Phillips, Sha'Ron Shaw, LaRon Shaw, Ethan Luckett, Elayna Luckett: 3 great grands; Special Nieces and Nephews, Earnest Leonard, Andre Leonard, Gene Brown and Aalayah Jones and a host of nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

The family appreciates all kind gestures during this time of bereavement.

Please see below for service information.  Requesting that face masks be worn at all services.  Please direct any flowers, acknowledgements or resolutions to Charlow Funeral Home.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rev. William Franklin Leonard, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program

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Public Viewing
April 6, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
New Mt. Zion M.B. Church
1321 N. Webster Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33805

Funeral Service
April 6, 2024

11:00 AM
New Mt. Zion M.B. Church
1321 N. Webster Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33805

April 8, 2024

10:00 AM
Bealsville Memorial Cemetery
Corner of Joe King Rd. & Jo Mar Rd.
Plant City, FL 33567

Please note
Requesting that face masks be worn at all services.

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