Leonard Buckner, 83 of Apple Creek, Ohio, successful businessman, prominent horse owner and partner of Hickory Lane Farm, died Saturday, Nov. 19, after a brave 12-year battle with kidney disease.
Some of Mr. Buckner's most successful racehorses included world champions Golly Too and Doc Mistake, Ruffstuff Baker, Lovin Every Moment and Picture This.
Leonard and his twin brother Linten were born on June 10, 1933, to Linten McKinley and Effie Elizabeth (Sneed) Buckner in Newport, Tennessee.
Always true to his Blue Ridge Mountain roots, he was a lifetime subscriber to his hometown newspaper and made annual contributions to the Cocke County library. Leonard lived the American dream of moving up from rags to riches through his intelligence and hard work. The son of a sharecropper, he started working in the fields at age eight. But he left his hometown in 1949 at age 16 to seek work in New Jersey. He borrowed $25 for his $18.65 bus ticket, leaving him with $6.35 in his pocket to start his life's journey.
Giving his age as 18, he was hired by the Seabrooks Company and soon became a crew foreman. A move to Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 1950s led to work at Republic Steel and another foreman position. There he met two men with a like mind set of hard work and ambition. The three of them started their own company of Euclid Spiral Paper Tube Corp. in 1956.
Euclid Spiral specialized in electrical tubing insulation and material slitting. Leonard developed various specialty coating and waterproofing applications for the tubing leading to eight company patents. Finding a unique niche in the marketplace, their growth caused the company's move in 1975 to Apple Creek. There a line of medical packaging machines was added, resulting in more growth and another seven-patents held by the company. Euclid Spiral was doing business worldwide before it became commonplace. It had become Wayne County's best kept secret.
Leonard soon became interested in the small community bank of Apple Creek Banking Company. With his support as a major stockholder and bank board member, the bank grew in total assets and additional branches. He served on the Board of Directors and many highly decisive committees for thirty-one years. In his last nine years he was Chairman of the Board, retiring in May 2015 as Chairman Emeritus of the Board.
During a 28-year loving relationship with his wife Rebecca Leah (Ewing), Leonard expanded his interest in the Apple Creek Bank, purchased Pace Mold & Machine in Navarre, became a part owner in Hickory Lane Horse Farm in Findlay and they both expanded their stock of Standardbred race horses. They traveled many miles together following their beloved champions Golly Too, Ruffstuff Baker, Doc Mistake, Lovin Every Moment, Forever Ivy and Picture This. Most importantly however, in 2002 he bought out his partner and became the sole owner of his "baby," Euclid Spiral Paper Tube Corporation.
Leonard loved sports and his freshman football year held the promise of a college scholarship but instead he started his life's journey in New Jersey. During the 1950s he pitched for several baseball teams in Cleveland, sometimes playing at the Indians' League Park. Weekly basketball games with friends were played as exercise until age 60 plus. He followed college football and basketball with favorites OSU and the Tennessee Vols and was a fan of the Cleveland Indians, Cavs and Browns.
Another interest was customizing, painting and riding Harleys which led to collecting them and collecting vintage cars, too. He also loved his five German Shepard dogs, all named Fritz.
In addition to his wife Rebecca, Mr. Buckner is survived by his daughter Diane (Joseph) Kashien of Strongsville, Ohio; granddaughter Kellyanne (Bobby) Miller with children Breanna and Shane of Medina, Ohio; granddaughter Cheron (Michael) Long with children Brayden and newborn Avery also from Medina; sister Zola Holt of Bridgeton, NJ; sister-in-law Loretta Buckner of Brookpark, Ohio; sister-in-law Lorene Meier of Apple Creek; brother-in-law Lane (Patricia) Ewing of Wooster;, Ohio ex-brothers-in-law Harold (Joanie) Legg of Avon, Ohio; Charles (Betty) Legg of Shreve, Ohio, and nieces and nephews from the Cleveland area, New Jersey and Tennessee. Also surviving are special friends Thomas Brinkerhoff, Jesse Canterbury, Richard DePew and Alfred Leist.
Services will be Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. at McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster with Pastor Kirk Fairhurst officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Eaton Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to LifeCare Hospice, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster 44691 or a charity of choice. Memorials can be shared with the family at http://www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com./
The Buckner family would like to express their deep appreciation for the loving care that Leonard received from all the staff at West View Healthy Living throughout this very difficult year. And also our gratitude for the presence of LifeCare Hospice during his final days.