PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
The ULTIMATE BUSINESSMAN
BY ELLEN GILLETTE
Bob Leonard loves business. He talks about entrepreneurs,
networking and marketing like a wine
connoisseur discusses the citrus-y notes of an
exquisite chardonnay — well, maybe a wine connoisseur
Although he’s built and sold several businesses, today
he is technically retired — a word he hates.
“People think you’re out to pasture,” he says. “I’m active,
living life on my own terms, traveling, doing unconventional
things to learn new things.”
A positive person, Leonard hesitates to mention challenges
he has overcome in life. In some ways, his love of
business saved his life — or at least his quality of life. A
few years ago, he almost died. “From my own arrogance,”
he admits wryly. “I was in complete denial.”
He thought he was just tired, more tired than he’d ever
been. When he dropped to the floor of his Port St. Lucie
home one day and couldn’t get up, he reasoned that after
a good nap on the floor, he’d be fine — ignoring the fact
that his left side had no sensation. “I’d doze and wake up
to find that some of the feeling had returned.” During the
next three days on the floor, his sensation weakened.
Had he not been in denial, there’s no doubt he would
have received help sooner. He talked to his children living
out of state. He talked to a friend who, fortunately, called
“The first time I thought ‘This might be serious’ was
when the ambulance arrived.” The panicked looks on the
first responders’ faces were convincing.
Leonard’s children were notified that their father was in
intensive care at St. Lucie Medical Center in Port St. Lucie,
septic and in critical condition. Within hours, they were at
his bedside. The next morning, grateful that Leonard had
lived through the night, the family was still unprepared
for the diagnosis. Doctors said that after suffering a stroke,
he’d never walk again. By the next morning, this was
amended to in six months with a walker. Then, 30 days.
During the four days he spent in the hospital, his progress
was not measured daily, but hourly.
Leonard was released to Lawnwood Pavilion in Fort
Pierce for rehabilitation much sooner than his doctor had
“I was amazed at the others there, such serious problems.
Accident victims, strokes, people who weren’t going
to recover,” Leonard says. “I never went through a feeling
sorry for myself phase.”
The consummate businessman — even in rehab — he
wheeled himself around, talking to anyone he could.
Leonard says he received tremendous care everywhere
he stayed. When a physical therapist friend of his son
encouraged Leonard to ask for a bucket of tennis balls to
throw against the wall, he followed through. It was an
exercise in frustration — he couldn’t catch a single ball
when it bounced back toward him. And baseball had been
44 Port St. Lucie Magazine
Although he has other interests, nothing brings a smile to Bob Leonard’s
face as much as helping businesses grow and succeed.
Bob Leonard’s family rallied to his side after his stroke and helped with his
recovery. He has helped all three of his children with their businesses.