Larger than Life…Donald Leonetti
By Lisa Glenn
On July 17, 2014, the life of Donald Joseph Leonetti was cut short in a tragic senseless way and an entire community went into mourning along with his beloved family. For over 25 years, his company, Leonetti Graphics, has served Fort Bend Schools, a myriad of charitable organizations and countless local businesses by creating designs that shouted the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Voted “Most Unforgettable,” Dulles Class of ’88, many knew Donald from his “Video Plus” days where he handed out movie critiques along with winks and “thumbs up” nods to parents trying to find appropriate movies for their youngsters. Donald then became the T-shirt guy who would sit down with the head of student council, the captain of the dance or baseball team, the parent liaison, the golf tournament chair, or the teacher sponsor and listen to their ideas. Then, to their utter amazement, he would doodle a concept on to a scrap of paper and make their vision come to life! He was an artistic magician and for almost three decades helped promote worthy causes with his art, whether on a T-shirt, towel or sign!
Over 2,000 people walked through the doors of River Pointe Community Church the night of the family visitation. His children Matthew and Lauren walked the lines of people waiting to pay their respects. They thanked individuals for coming and administered hugs that would have had their Dad beaming his pride; while their mom, Jenni, their grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins stood for over three hours embracing the outpouring of a grateful community. Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen seemed to sum it up when he remarked, “He was a special and giving person and will be sorely missed. There are few people like him that want nothing in return for what they do. He touched many hearts.”
The day of Leonetti’s Memorial Celebration, River Pointe was again filled to standing room only with folks dressed in blue jeans and their favorite Leonetti Graphics T-shirt (at the family’s request) and as they departed were given a last gift from Donald, an “In memory” T-shirt. Even the heavens cried for Donald with a light shower of rain as individuals walked into the service to pay tribute to this dynamic individual who as in the TV show Cheers, “knew everybody’s name.”
In the program his wife Jenni wrote,”…We feel the prayers. Thank you so much for loving our family. Even though I am broken hearted to lose my best friend, I just have to believe that God’s got this.” Pastor Patrick Kelley laughingly told the gathering that Donald was his kind of guy “someone who put real hands and feet” on God’s message and encouraged everyone to embrace the way Donald lived and not let guilt or anger take the place of forgiveness and reaching out.
Leonetti’s daughter Lauren (who called her Dad her best friend), his lifelong friend and business associate Paul Price, as well as pals Woody Williams and Jonathan Michel, all spoke with emotion and humor as they gave verbal characterizations of this larger than life boy next door!
They tattle-tale’d stories of youthful escapades, complimented his business acumen, paid homage to his role model Uncle Damon, as well as Leonetti’s deep commitment to family & friends, valiantly fighting their own tears as they knew they represented each person in the room who felt exactly yet uniquely the same way about Donald J. Leonetti– an every-day guy who epitomized being a “cheerful giver” and whose memory will live forever young in the many hearts he touched.
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